Number of U.S. pilgrims to Madrid approaches 29,000
August 20 Mass will gather, send forth U.S. pilgrims
WASHINGTON—Eight U.S. prelates have been chosen as English-language catechists by the Pontifical Council for Laity, the Vatican’s official organism that convenes World Youth Day (WYD). The group includes Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago, Cardinal Seán O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston, Archbishop Charles Chaput, newly appointed as archbishop of Philadelphia, as well as Bishops Samuel Aquila of Fargo, North Dakota, Edward Burns of Juneau, Alaska, William Murphy of Rockville Centre, New York, and Frank Caggiano, auxiliary bishop of Brooklyn. The group will be among 250 bishop-catechists from all over the world representing many different countries and languages.
The catechetical sessions will be held Wednesday, August 17 through Friday, August 19, in multiple sites around the Spanish capital metropolitan area. Each bishop has been asked to prepare three catechetical sessions, one for each day, based on the theme for WYD Madrid 2011: “Planted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the faith” (Col 2:7).
Wednesday’s theme, Firm in the Faith, will invite young people to come closer and examine the gift of faith “which illumines and transforms the lives of the believers because we are made for God,” according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (153-155). Thursday’s theme, Established in Jesus Christ, will invite young people to build a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and to build their lives with Him on solid foundations. While Friday’s catechesis, Witnesses to Christ in the World, will remind the young pilgrims that every baptized person is called to mission and that young people must be active participants in this new era of missionary activity, particularly among their peers.
On Saturday, a morning Mass at Madrid’s Palacio de los Deportes will gather U.S. pilgrims and bishops and give them a respite at the air-conditioned facility, before sending them out to the Cuatro Vientos Airport for the Vigil Prayer that night and Closing Mass the next day with Pope Benedict XVI. Cardinal George will be the main celebrant at Saturday’s Mass, and Archbishop Dolan will provide the homily. At the end of Mass, in a made-for-the-occasion ceremony, the U.S. bishops will send forth the youth to the remaining WYD events and ask them to return home as missionaries. After Mass there will also be some time for participants to gather by diocese or region with their bishops.
Oregon Catholic Press and World Library Publications are donating the music for the Mass and will offer a concert at the facility before Mass, starting at 9:00 a.m. The American Bible Society has donated the programs.
Meanwhile, the number of U.S. pilgrims scheduled to attend this world gathering of youth continues to grow. So far, 28,720 U.S. pilgrims and 62 bishops have registered to participate at WYD 2011 in Madrid. Catechetical and spiritual preparation materials for participation at WYD are available atwww.wydusa.org.
The deadline to request WYD media accreditation for international media is July 31. To apply please go to http://www.madrid11.com/pressoffice/en/accreditation.