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The World Youth Day is the greatest concentration of young people in the world

Madrid, 15th August 2011- YOUCAT an acronym for Youth Catechism is the most significant highlight of the 2011 Youth Day which commences in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday.

Schedules & Highlights

Nearly a million youth would have already converged in the city of Madrid by today, to take part in the 2011 World Youth Day, a 5-day celebration of fellowship and prayers. Over 130,000 international pilgrims will be lodged in every corner of Spain.  From big cities to small towns, on the coast or in the interior, all over Spain people are busy helping young pilgrims get acquainted with the country, the culture and the way they live their faith.

Fully aware that they are the future of the Church and of society, Pope Benedict XVI will impart a special gift for 2011 World Youth day pilgrims – a book called YOUCAT (Youth Catechism).This compendium of the faith is comprised of 280 pages and responds in a simple manner very basic questions of the Catholic faith.  It deals with the main doubts and concerns which preoccupy today’s youth: “The youth of today are not as superficial as some think.  They want to know what life is really all about,” affirms the Holy Father in the prologue. YOUCAT & YOU.

All pilgrims will find in their back packs this useful tool to help them live fully the motto of this year’s World Youth Day: “planted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the faith.”

This unusual little book is an inter play of questions and answers written in a dynamic and light style, allowing the young to find responses to their questions in a fun and interesting manner.  “This book is exciting because it speaks of our own destiny,” writes the Holy Father.  “It places before you the Gospel message as ‘the pearl of great value’ (Mt, 13:46), for which you must give everything.”

Simple in design, photographs are interspersed with descriptive illustrations, making it more visually attractive and interesting to read.  Easy to use, it is divided into four parts: the first part, entitled “What we believe” is about God and the scriptures; the second deals with the sacraments; the third is on living a life in Christ, the 10 Commandments and the vocation; the fourth part is on how to pray.  

From Mother Teresa to Dostoyevski

One of the more interesting and unique features of this small but formidable book are the quotations in the side columns coming not only from saints and doctors of the Church but also literary figures and great thinkers from around the world such as Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Gandhi, as well as patrons of the 2011 World Youth Day such as Pope John Paul II, Saint Theresa of Ávila, St. John of the Cross, St. Ignatius of Loyola, Aristóteles, Dostoievski, CS Lewis, Cervantes and Lope de Vega. ‘Don’t be afraid that one day your life will end.  Be more afraid of losing the opportunity to begin it correctly,’ is a quote from Blessed Henry Newman.

The City of Madrid with a population of over 3.7 million has been busy house-cleaning for the past 7 days to welcome the Holy Father and the youth pilgrims from all parts of the globe. If the city had already enough charm, decorated for a great fiesta and full of happy young faces, Madrid promises to be even more spectacular in the next 5 days.

Flags, banners and banderoles adorn the balconies of the houses… but also the most emblematic buildings of Madrid: from the National Library, to the towers in Colón Square and one of the most important skyscrapers of Madrid (Torre Espacio).

This building, well known for having the highest chapel in the world, will act as a ‘Paschal candle’ during the entire event. An enormous spotlight like a flame will be positioned on it, with a cross on either side. It can be seen from August 15th to 21st from 10 pm and from any point in the city, even Cuatro Vientos!

During part of the Popemobile’s route the sky will be filled with color: WYD balloons will be distributed in the streets and many will be set loose into the sky. The most special ones are the balloons in form of a dove of the children in San Rafael Hospital. Helped by volunteers they will hang their messages and wishes on the balloons, and the balloons will have seeds inside them so that wherever they fall they will plant hope.

The young people began to arrive to the diocese of San Sebastian last Saturday, since the city was scheduled to receive 1400 Chileans, who have been arriving in tandems. Only yesterday, the last of the 5600 young lodgers arrived: Chileans, French, Chinese… and more. A Mass was celebrated to welcome them, and also an immersion course in the regional customs of this part of Spain.

Although at first glance it may appear that the natural beneficiaries of this welcome are the pilgrims themselves, a second glance alters this perception.The joy and enthusiasm of these young people spreads rapidly to theirfamilies here in Spain, and through them, to the rest of the population, taking the spirit of WYD to wherever they are.

Contagious joy amongst the Basques.

The Basques receive warmly their visitors with songs and dancing.

The village of Azuqueca de Henares, province of Guadalajara, with 300 villagers, is being revolutionized by the arrival of 200 pilgrims from a most unsuspected variety of places. The young people here come from Mexico, the United States and Ecuador. To this, add Philippines and Indians hailing from Dubai. The different groups of pilgrims have been arriving little by little to their assigned parishes, where their host families collect and take them to their homes. Once they were comfortably installed in the lodgings they will occupy for these days, young people and families alike attended a welcoming ceremony where there was time to pray and hear the testimonies of the pilgrim groups assigned to the parish.