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World Youth Day kicks off in Madrid 2011

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Published on Aug 16, 2011

August 16, 2011. (Romereports.com) It's official. World Youth Day is finally here. The big event kicked off Tuesday night with an opening Mass in Madrid's Plaza de Cibeles, one of the city's main monuments. It was surrounded by thousands of young people, who traveled from every corner of the world.


Card. Antonio Maria Rouco Varela
Archbishop of Madrid
"Welcome to the 26th World Youth Day"

The Mass was held in several languages. It was led by the city's archbishop, cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, who welcomed all young pilgrims to Spain.

Card. Antonio Maria Rouco Varela
Archbishop of Madrid
"You are all part of the generation of Benedict XVI. It's not the same as the generation of John Paul II. Your place in life has its own characteristics. Your problems and circumstances have changed.

Also celebrating the Mass were 800 bishops, archbishops and cardinals as well as roughly 8,000 priests. The Cardinal honored the words of John Paul II urging youths to not be afraid.

Card. Antonio Maria Rouco Varela
Archbishop of Madrid
"Don't be afraid of being a saint. Let Christ live in your heart. Respond to Him with a 'yes' that's full of excitement and generosity of life."

After the homily, cardinal RoucoVarela blessed several medals with the image of the Virgin de la Almudena, the patroness of Madrid.

Also present was Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, the president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity. He told the young faithful about the role faith plays in life.

Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko
President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity
"Faith is a decisive factor in each person's life. Everything changes according to whether God exists or not. Faith is like a root that is nourished by the lifeblood of the word of God and the Sacraments."

With thousands of flags from dozens of countries waving through the air, Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko said, the mere presence of so many youths speaks louder than words.

Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko
President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity
"You have come to say to say aloud to the whole world, and in particular to Europe which is showing signs of being very lost, your unwavering "yes"! Yes faith is possible."

The theme that will be repeated again and again is the official slogan of World Youth Day. It reads "Planted and Built up in Christ, Firm in the Faith."

One of the patron's of World Youth Day is Pope John Paul II who first began World Youth Day in 1985. Pope Benedict XVI will arrive to Madrid on Thursday August 18th.
CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, JULY 29, 2011 (Zenit.org).- There is a poverty at the root of every serious human problem, says Benedict XVI, and that poverty is the lack of love.
The Pope made this reflection in a July 20 note to the Somascan Fathers, who are set to begin a jubilee in celebration of the 500th anniversary of their founder's miraculous release from prison.
The founder of the order, St. Jerome Emiliani, was born to a wealthy family in Italy. He lived his youth far from God and became a soldier in 1506. He was captured and imprisoned in 1511 and prayed to Our Lady for help. He was miraculously freed and laid the chains that had bound him before Mary's altar. Converted to the love of God, he undertook the care of the sick and orphans, founding six orphanages.
He was canonized in 1767 and is the patron of orphans and abandoned people.
The Pope's message noted that the order's charism to care for and educate youth "continues to be a commitment of the Church, at all times and in all places."
He said that new generations need to be nourished not only with "cultural and technical notions, but above all by love, which conquers individualism and egoism and enables one to pay attention to the needs of every brother and sister."
The Holy Father spoke of the saint's example as one that "helps us to be concerned about all the poverties experienced by our youth: moral, physical, existential and above all, the poverty of love, the root of every serious human problem."
God's plan
Benedict XVI's message to the Somascan Fathers also included an invitation to trust in God.
He noted how the founder lived in the 16th century, a time when the Church faced the Protestant Reformation and a need for internal reform.
A "re-flowering of holiness" in that time "became the first and most original answer to requests for renewal," the Pope said. "The testimony of saints shows that one must only have confidence in God: Trials, in fact, both on the personal as well as the institutional level, serve to increase faith. God has his plans, even when we do not succeed in understanding his ordinances."

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