World Youth Day 2011

Madrid, Spain - Pope Benedict XVI

"Rooted and Built Up in Jesus Christ, Firm in the Faith." (Colossians 2:7)

My Pictures from WYD 2011

What is World Youth Day? - Introduction and Messages

Archdiocese of Madrid website for World Youth Day 2011 - now available in English

Read Pope Benedict's Message for WYD 2011
(Read excerpts in which the Pope reflects on his youth.)

By Fr. Gary Coulter - Contact me Sign my guestbook Go to Fr. Coulter's Homepage

August 15 - 21, 2011

Benedict XVI: Youth Days Not Just Big Events

Calls Them "Privileged Occasions" to Find Christ

VATICAN CITY, JULY 2, 2010 ( - World Youth Day isn't just another big event, says Benedict XVI, but rather a "privileged occasion" for youth to encounter the love of Christ

The Pope said this today upon receiving in audience a delegation of the sponsors of the next international youth day, which is set to take place Aug. 16-21, 2011, in Madrid, Spain.

The delegation was led by Cardinal Antonio María Rouco, the archbishop of Madrid, and included members of the Foundation Madrid Vivo.

"There are many young people who have their eyes fixed on that beautiful city, with the joy of being able to meet there in a few months to hear together the Word of Christ, which is always young, and to be able to share the faith that unites us and the desire they have of building a better world, inspired in the values of the Gospel," the Pontiff said in a short greeting.

"I invite you all to continue to collaborate generously in this beautiful initiative," he continued, "which is not a simple multitudinous meeting, but a privileged occasion for the young people of your country and of the whole world to let themselves be conquered by the love of Christ Jesus, Son of God and of Mary, the faithful friend, the conqueror of sin and death."

"Whoever trusts in him is never disappointed, but finds the necessary strength to choose the right path in life," he added.

The Foundation Madrid Vivo was created in November to support World Youth Day 2011. It is composed of Spanish business leaders, including the presidents of the largest banks in Spain.

Read the full address of Pope Benedict

What Youth Give Society

Interview With Vatican Aide on Upcoming Youth Day Plans

By Anita S. Bourdin

ROME, JAN. 21, 2009 ( - Benedict XVI is sending a message to young people for the next World Youth Days, and it is important for them to read it, affirms Father Eric Jacquinet.

Father Jacquinet is the head of the youth section of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

The priest was referring to messages on the themes for the upcoming diocesan and worldwide youth days, which were recently published by the Pope. The themes are: for the 24th World Youth Day (2009): "We Have Set Our Hope on the Living God" (1 Timothy 4:10); for the 25th World Youth Day (2010): "Good Teacher, What Must I do to Inherit Eternal Life?" (Mark 10:17); and for the 26th World Youth Day (2011): "Rooted and Built Up in Jesus Christ, Firm in the Faith" (Colossians 2:7).

In this interview with ZENIT, Father Jacquinet speaks about the themes for the next three youth gatherings and the spirit with which young people can live them.

Q: What "dynamic" do these three topics follow?

Father Jacquinet: Each of these themes has its own logic. The first, for 2009, speaks of hope. The Pope invites young people to enter into true hope, the "great hope" that only Christ can give.

And we receive this hope in the Church. This is vital for young people, within the context of the current social and economic crisis. First of all, because youth is by definition the time of hope: It is the time for plans and the initial education needed in order to enter into life.

Furthermore, young Christians have the mission of being witnesses of hope among their peers. Finally, because in all ages society has benefited from the contribution of youth.

It suffices to look at the impact of young monks in medieval Europe or the work of St. Francis of Assisi. More recently, the youth Frederic Ozanam founded the St. Vincent de Paul Conferences at the age of 20.

A great number of young people have participated in the life of our world.

They did so because they had a great hope. They found this hope in Christ, the living God, as St. Paul affirms, after his experience on the road to Damascus. And he would become a passionate witness of this until his death.

The theme for 2010 refers to the rich young man’s question to Jesus: "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" In 2010, we will celebrate the 25th anniversary of John Paul II’s beautiful letter to young people (1985).

This letter was a commentary on this encounter of the rich young man -- who represents in a certain way all young people -- with Jesus. The question concerns action: "What must I do?"

This theme leads to Christian commitment in the world. And the object of this commitment is "to obtain eternal life."

Thus we understand that this theme is the continuation of the previous one about hope in eternal life.

Lastly, the theme for the Madrid World Youth Day, in 2011, leads to rooting one's faith in Christ.

The Pope often encourages young people to cultivate their Christian faith, to make it mature and solid. He exhorts them to form themselves in order to "give an account of the hope that is in them."

Thus it is a real pathway toward Madrid that the Pope offers young Christians, during these three years of preparation.

Q: How can we help youth live these years in our dioceses?

Father Jacquinet: The Pope will address a message to the youth about each one of these themes. The next message will be published at the beginning of 2009.

Young people should read it! The Pope is writing to them. They should discuss this important text.

Furthermore, the Pope encourages the youth of each diocese to get together each year, so as to live World Youth Day in their own country, around Palm Sunday or in another moment. Youth ministry leaders are thus exhorted to organize something according to their possibilities.

But the youth should not wait passively for proposals. Can they not also make plans, present proposals to their bishops, to their priests, to their leaders?

Q: Is there still a future in the Youth Day formula, or is it waning?

Father Jacquinet: The echoes of the last World Youth Days, in Cologne and Sydney, show that the World Youth Day formula is far from waning!

On the contrary, it is developing, and each time it reaches new generations of young people.

The great international gatherings have one similar, general form: a week in a metropolis, with the presence of the Pope, delegations from almost every country, catecheses in the morning, a youth festival that offers diverse expressions of the faith, a Way of the Cross, three speeches by the Holy Father, the highlight being the Saturday vigil and the closing Mass on Sunday.

Before this week, numerous groups make a stop in a nearby diocese, which is also very important: the welcoming of the families and parishes renews the young pilgrims as well as the welcoming dioceses. All of this produces many fruits, through the grace of the Holy Spirit.

These fruits are also linked to the fact that the young people prepare themselves for several months for the Youth Day and that their groups continue afterward.

And it appears that during all these years since 1986, World Youth Days have formed generations of youth, today engaged in the Church, with a harvest of vocations to the priesthood and to the religious life, not to mention the married couples who met at a youth day!

Additionally, World Youth Day has given momentum to youth ministry in many countries worldwide. So the World Youth Day formula still has a brilliant future.

Youth Day Organizers Prepare for Disabled

Aim to Help All Young People Participate Actively

MADRID, MARCH 2, 2010 ( Organizers of the 2011 World Youth Day are preparing to welcome all young people, even those with disabilities, to Madrid as active participants.

The communications department of the event's organizational committee affirmed that they are including this consideration while arranging for all those participants who speak foreign languages.

In a communiqué, the department affirmed: "In addition to the thousands of languages spoken in the world, there are others that, because they are unknown, are not given much attention.

"Their words cannot be heard, they are written in the air, with their hands. It is the way that the deaf communicate."

For those who have difficulty reading long texts, the Youth Day organizers are offering informational videos on their Web site. Videos will also be offered on a YouTube channel dedicated to the event. One video gives practical details in international sign language.

A special team has been nominated to coordinate and receive those participants who have special needs. The committee includes representatives from various groupings of disabilities: visual, auditory, physical and psychological.

The team has been working for several months on the logistical details for making the Youth Day a good experience for all participants, especially those with special needs.

For example, they are working with the ONCE foundation (a Spanish national organization for blind people) to make the Web site accessible to blind persons.

Fully welcome

One team member, Jaime Gutierrez, has a hearing disability. Aside from his work for World Youth Day, he is responsible for the pastoral care of the deaf and the deaf-blind in the Archdiocese of Madrid.

Gutierrez stated that his goal is that the deaf people who attend the Youth Day will "feel fully welcome and integrated and able to participate without any communication barriers, so that it is a community and ecclesial experience that really marks their life, serving as a personal encounter with Jesus Christ."

He expressed the hope that the event will "be remembered as an intense experience of faith shared with the whole Church, in which we all have a place and can feel at home."

Gutierrez added that after the Youth Day is over, he would like to see "groups of young deaf people consolidate in all the dioceses, where they can mature and live that vocation and mission."

The team plans to continue producing informational videos that will help participants navigate the housing, registration, city tours, and other aspects.

A school in Madrid, La Purisima, has been named the headquarters for the deaf during the event. Special activities will be held there for the pilgrims with hearing disabilities, including Mass, catechesis and workshops.

Gutierrez stated the goal that "deaf young people from all countries, especially impoverished countries, will participate and be protagonists of World Youth Day and not mere passive recipients, giving us their testimony and experience of faith."

Madrid Youth Day Features 500-Year-Old Monstrance

9-Foot Gold Piece to Be Used for Eucharistic Adoration

MADRID, Spain, JULY 19, 2010 ( The World Youth Day vigil with Benedict XVI, on Saturday night, Aug. 20, 2011, will culminate with Eucharistic adoration, in which a famous Spanish monstrance will be used.

The Arfe Monstrance, which is almost 500 years old and stands approximately nine feet tall, will be used next year in the main event of the youth day in Madrid.

This monstrance, covered with gold and silver, is used in the annual Corpus Christi procession through the streets of Toledo.

Enrique de Arfe worked on the monstrance from 1517 to 1524, at the request of the archbishop of Toledo at that time, Cardinal Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros.

Francisco Portela, professor of art history at Madrid's Complutense University, said that it is "the best example of Spanish silversmith craft of all times," a press release from the youth day organizers reported.

He added that "the occasion for which it is being brought to Madrid is very worthwhile."

Juan Sánchez, dean of the Cathedral of Toledo, where the masterpiece is usually housed, said, "We have gladly parted with the monstrance for the [youth day] celebration thinking of the very great end it will serve."

Portela noted that these types of monstrances "had their monumental development both in cathedrals as well as in the processions in which they were used at the end of the 14th century and the beginning of the 15th." They were developed most in Flanders and Germany, where the Arfe family originated from.

The youth day organizers expressed the hope that this time of Eucharistic adoration in Cuatro Vientos will "allow multitudes of young people to contemplate and to admire a unique work of art in the world, used according to the purpose of its creators, and thus to rediscover the value of art in the liturgy."

On 25 Years of World Youth Days

"I Renew this Call to the New Generation to Give Witness"

Palm Sunday Angelus Address of Pope Benedict XVI, March 14, 2010 (

As we conclude this celebration our thoughts cannot but turn to the Palm Sunday of 25 years ago. It was 1985 that the United Nations declared the as "Year of Young People." Venerable John Paul II wanted to welcome that occasion and, commemorating Christ's entrance into Jerusalem, acclaimed by his disciples, initiated the World Youth Days. Since then Palm Sunday has acquired this characteristic that every two or three years it is also marked by great global meetings, tracing a kind of pilgrimage of young people across the whole planet, following Jesus.

Some 25 years ago my beloved predecessor invited young people to profess their faith in Christ, who "who took man's cause upon himself" (Homily, March 31, 1985, nos. 5 and 7: Insegnamenti VIII, 1 [1985], 884, 886). Today I renew this call to the new generation to give witness by the meek and luminous power of the truth, so that the men and women of the third millennium do not lack the most authentic model: Jesus Christ. I give this mandate especially to the 300 delegates of the International Youth Forum, who have come from every part of the world. The forum was convoked by the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

I greet all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors at this Angelus, especially the young people present who are celebrating the twenty-fifth World Youth Day. Today we also begin Holy Week, the Church's most intense time of prayer and reflection, by recalling Jesus' welcome into Jerusalem by the children. Let us make their joy our own, by welcoming Christ into our lives, our hearts and our families. Upon you and your loved ones, I gladly invoke the strength and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

In this moment our thoughts and our hearts are directed in a special way toward Jerusalem, where the paschal mystery was accomplished. I am deeply saddened by the recent conflicts and for the tensions that have again arisen in that city, which is a spiritual homeland for Christians, Jews and Muslims, prophecy and promise of that universal reconciliation that God desires for the whole human family.

Peace is a gift that God entrusts to human responsibility so that it might be cultivated through dialogue and respect for the rights of all, reconciliation and forgiveness. Let us pray therefore that those who are responsible for the fate of Jerusalem enter the way of peace with courage and follow it with perseverance!

Dear brothers and sisters! As Jesus did with his disciple John, I too entrust you to Mary, saying to you: Behold your mother (cf. John 19:27). To her we turn with filial confidence, reciting the Angelus prayer.

On Preparation for World Youth Day in Madrid

"The Pilgrim Cross Brings the Message of Christ to All Youth"

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 5, 2009 ( - after Palm Sunday Mass, before praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter's Square. Benedict XVI addressed a delegation from Sydney who handed over the World Youth Day Cross to a group of young people from Madrid.

* * *

A special greeting to the 150 delegates -- bishops, priests and lay people -- who in recent days participated in the international meeting on the World Youth Days, organized by the Pontifical Council for the Laity. Thus, there begins the journey of preparation toward the next international gathering of youth, which will take place in August 2011 in Madrid. I have already indicated its theme: "Rooted and Built Up in Christ, Solid in Faith," which is taken from Colossians 2:7. As is tradition, the young people from Australia will give to the young people from Spain the World Youth Day cross, the "pilgrim cross," which brings the message of Christ to all the youth of the world. This "passing on of witness" takes on a highly symbolic value, with which we express immense gratitude to God for the gifts received at the great meeting in Sydney and for those that we will receive at the meeting in Madrid. Tomorrow the cross, accompanied by the icon of the Virgin Mary, will depart for the Spanish capital, and will be present there for the great Good Friday procession. After this a long pilgrimage through the dioceses of Spain will begin, and will end again in Madrid in the summer of 2011. May this cross and this icon of Mary be for all a sign of Christ's invincible love and that of his and our Mother!

[After the ceremony of the handing over of the World Youth Day Cross and Icon, he said:]

And now we turn with faith to the Virgin Mary, so that she will always watch over the path of the young and that she will help us to live Holy Week well.

Youth Ministry Can't Be Mediocre, Says Cardinal

Says It Requires a "Pastoral Passion"

ROME, APRIL 3, 2009 ( Those who work in youth ministry must throw off mediocrity and be filled with a "pastoral passion" to announce the message of Christ to young people, says Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko.

The president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity said this today upon opening the three-day "International Meeting of Youth Ministers: From Sydney 2008 to Madrid 2011."

The organizational leaders of the 2008 World Youth Day in Sydney are participating through Sunday in an evaluation of the fruits of World Youth Day in their country, with talks by Cardinal George Pell and Bishop Anthony Fisher, archbishop and auxiliary of Sydney.

The meeting will include youth ministry leaders from Madrid, Spain, host of World Youth Day 2011, as well as delegates from 70 countries, and representatives from 35 international Catholic communities, associations and movements. The meeting is the first step in preparing for the 2011 youth day.

Cardinal Rylko called the youth events "youth ministry workshops," and reminded those present that youth ministry "is not an appendage to the ordinary ministry work of the Church, but it is its core, its heart.”

Youth ministry can't be "ordinary or mediocre," he affirmed. "It requires the ongoing conversion of the heart and the ongoing pursuit of ever-new ways to announce Christ. And it requires a veritable pastoral passion for young people."

"And it is an extremely exacting task," he added, "since the young have extremely exacting expectations of adults, in whom they want to find not just teachers but above all genuine and consistent witnesses."

Underlining the importance of the youth events, Cardinal Rylko said they "have become providential catalysts of the pastoral work of the Church for the young generations. They play a valuable role as guidance, inspiration and encouragement."


The cardinal said the meetings have also turned out to be "an extraordinary observatory of the world's youth," in which one is able to note the trends among youth, and which are "hardly ever covered by the media."

The president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity credited the world days with the birth of a "new generation of youth pastoral workers, who know how to respond to the real problems of the youth.”

Cardinal Rylko said the youth events have also "given rise to a new generation of young people who know how to oppose the general trends of the prevalent post-modern culture. These are the young who say ‘yes’ to Christ and to His Church, the young who pursue the true meaning of life.”

"They are a minority," he noted, "but a 'creative' one, one of those minorities that are decisive for the future of mankind."

World Youth Day is an annual event, which is celebrated every 2-3 years on an international level in various locations. When it is not celebrated internationally, World Youth Day is celebrated on a diocesan level on Palm Sunday.

The theme for World Youth Day 2009, which will be observed Sunday, is "We Have Set Our Hope on the Living God" (1 Timothy 4:10).