26th World Youth Day (WYD) preparations are underway in Madrid

Madrid, August 01, 2009 – Preparations are already underway for the 26th World Youth Day (WYD) in Madrid, August 15-21, 2011, with the theme: “Rooted and Built Up in Jesus Christ, Firm in the Faith.” Yesterday, July 30, a press conference was held at the Archdiocese of Madrid headquarters, given by the WYD Director of Communications, Santiago de la Cierva, along with Auxiliary Bishop Cesar Franco. During the conference, a presentation was made of the official logo of WYD. The creator's name is Jose Gil-Nogues, a graphic designer who works in Madrid and Oviedo (Spain). He explained that the drawing depicts “the youth of the entire world who come together to celebrate their faith with the Pope, at the foot of the Cross, and form a crown of the Virgin of Almudena (Patroness of Madrid). The crown shows an “M” for Mary, as well as to recall the first letter of Madrid, the site of the encounter. The Cross, the sign of the Christian, presides this meeting of the Pope with the youth, who bear witness to the theme of the WYD: “Rooted and Built Up in Jesus Christ, Firm in the Faith.” As for the form, “the symbol is drawn in a spontaneous and firm stroke, symbolic of the youth of the 21st century...familiar, friendly, and open...joyful, at ease, and positive.” As for the colors: “The use of vibrant colors (red, orange, and yellow) transmits warmth and glow, symbolic of a city like Madrid and a country like Spain. These colors are also a reflection of that “divine warmth” of Trinitarian Love.”

There was also a brief statement on the preparations taking place for the event, which have been fully supported by the Spanish Government and the City of Madrid. The sites of Alcala, Gran Via, Puerta del Sol, Almudena Cathedral, and Paseo de la Castellana will host a large number of the WYD events, giving special importance to the traditional Way of the Cross. The Seminary of Madrid will hold a special encounter for seminarians, as well. The “central” act of the event will be, along with the Vigil on Saturday, the Mass on Sunday, which will take place in the Cuatro Vientos Air Base, at 9:30am. The Opening Mass will be celebrated by Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, in Madrid's Plaza de Cibeles. There is also a possibility of holding Masses at various sites, to attend to the pilgrims of a variety of languages.

In the month of September, there will be an organizational chart presented with the heads of the WYD organization and the website of the encounter will also be presented. Santiago de la Cierva explained that “in order to create an informational source that is complete, for all those who plan on attending,” the Archdiocese will launch, at the end of September, an official website that will be available in six official languages (English, French, Italian, German, Portuguese, and Spanish) and three additional languages (Russian, Arabic, and Chinese). “We also hope to make the event known through the main social networks such as 'Facebook' and 'hi5' in order to reach out to the youth that use them on a constant basis,” he added.

In this World Youth Day, the main instrument for communication will be the Internet and social networks, which not only facilitate information, but also create communities.

Lastly, the passage of the Cross and the Icon of the Virgin Mary, symbols of WYD, will begin this September 14, Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, with a Prayer Vigil in the Almudena Cathedral. There will be a pilgrimage of the symbols through the various different parishes of the Archdiocese of Madrid, until the end of March 2010. During that time, the Cross and Icon will also visit the Soto del Real Prison, the “Juvenalia” Youth Fair, and will accompany the youth of Madrid in their pilgrimage to Javier (Spain). Campus Ministry, the Military Archdiocese of Spain, the Diocese of Alcala de Henares, and the Diocese of Getafe will also host them.

The dioceses located along the route of the Camino de Santiago (Way of Saint James) will also participate in a special manner, as 2010 is a Jubilee Year of Compostela. A large number of Spanish youth are expected to attend the European encounter in Santiago de Compostela that summer.

This is the second time that Spain hosts World Youth Day. The first time it was celebrated in Spain was in Santiago de Compostela, in 1989, and it so happens that it was also organized by Cardinal Rouco Varela, then Archbishop of Santiago.

-Agenzia Fides

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