WYD: serving the New Generations
|World Youth Day 2008 Sydney.|
Nearly 440,000 pilgrims have registered for World Youth Day (WYD) 2011 Madrid - a never-before-seen figure for WYD - with more than one million young people overall expected to descend on Madrid from 15 to 21 August.
In announcing the pilgirm figures, President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity Cardinal Rylko said WYD is "an extraordinary experience of a Church that is a friend to the youth, which places herself at the service of the new generations."
"It is an experience of the Universal Church which embraces the entire planet, a young Church, full of enthusiasm," Cardinal Rylko said.
Executive Director of WYD Yago de la Cierva has also highlighted the important work of the 22,500 volunteers who have been key to organising the event.
For international volunteer Elsa Vázquez, a Mexican with residence in Australia, being involved in WYD preparations has been "a wonderful experience of a lifetime," that is changing her life and inspires her to convey this message to the world.
De la Cierva has also revealed that the Holy Father has accepted the proposal – for the first time at a WYD – to hear the confessions of several young people during the Festival of Forgiveness to be held in Madrid's Parque del Retiro.
1,000 priests to hear Festival of Forgiveness confessions
More than 25,000 religious, priests and seminarians are also finalising their preparations for attending WYD 2011 Madrid.
Almost half of this number are priests, with more than 12,000 registered to date.
As well as accompanying groups of young people, the priests will help with the distribution of Communion at Mass and with confessions at the Festival of Forgiveness.
Almost 1,000 priests have already offered to hear confession in more than 15 languages during the Festival of Forgiveness. Some have offered to hear confession for 12 hours a day for five days, during which time there will be almost 200 confessionals installed in the Retiro Park.
True to what is now tradition, seminarians will also attend WYD in great numbers, with more than 6,500 future priests having already registered.
On 20 August, the Holy Father will say Mass for more than 2,000 seminarians.
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