In light of the Pope's upcoming to trip to Spain for World Youth Day this August, the Vatican has released new figures on the number of Catholics living there. Spain has a population close to 46 million people and the Vatican estimates that 42 and a half million, or 92.2%, is Catholic.
Despite many difficulties, 65 Vietnamese are expected at World Youth Day (WYD) in Madrid (16-21 August). However, tens of thousands of youth are taking part in pastoral and social activities organised by the diocese’s Episcopal Youth Commission in order to strengthen the WYD spirit. The goal is to empower a new generation of Catholics to allow them to embark on a new life and bring new energy to young Vietnamese.
For Cardinal Antonio Rouco Varela of Madrid, hosting his second international World Youth Day is a completely different experience to the first. The cardinal, who will be 75 in late August, was the archbishop of Santiago de Compostela in 1989 when Pope John Paul II met young people there for World Youth Day.
The World Youth Day cross has arrived in Madrid! For two years it was taken to 70 dioceses around Spain. Now it's back home in the Almudena Cathedral, where it stands next to the icon of the Virgin Mary. The cross became the official symbol of World Youth Day, after Pope John Paul II gave it to a group of youths back in 1984. Watch this video for more.
With a month to go before half a million young Catholics descend on Madrid, preparations are on track but "there are an infinite number of small problems to solve," said the executive director of World Youth Day 2011. Yago de la Cierva said July 18 that he has "seven tons of rosaries I have to bail out of customs," and other similar unexpected scenarios that make the WYD journey so unusual. Visit this article to read more!
World Youth Day starts next August 16th in Spain. For those who won't be able to make it, a few items are already up for sale on the web. At Madrid 2011 official website, one can find folding chairs, canteens and even cologne designed specifically for the event, as well as the official backpack!
Have a group Picasa account or Flickr account to load all the photos to.
It was a small radio that saved our World Youth Day experience in Rome 2000 as we were able to pick up the sound system at the main WYD events. We were able to participate in all the events and hear the Pope's address. The other advantage of the radio was that we could receive the english translation of the main events which were in Italian. read more why you should take a small radio to Spain here.
Young people from around the world are preparing for the trip of a lifetime - see you in Madrid!
The official World Youth Day 2011 website has published some essential information for all pilgrims attending WYD in Madrid. From where to pick up your backpack and pilgrim pass, to what to expect from the weather - its all covered here:
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