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9/14/10

World Youth Day - PREPARE!

Icon of Jesus ChristImage via Wikipedia
MADRID, Spain, SEPT. 14, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Participants planning to attend the 2011 World Youth Day in Madrid are urged to begin preparing now in prayer, sacramental growth and witnessing to the faith.

This was part of the pastoral plan for the Madrid Archdiocese for this year, which will culminate in the youth day next year.
 
Ángel Matesanz, who is in charge of the youth day's pastoral preparation, pointed out that the objective of the plan is to "strengthen our adherence to Jesus Christ and our commitment to the proclamation of the Gospel."
 
Metasanz also pointed out the importance of prayer in a missionary ambit: "We must allow ourselves to be seduced by Jesus Christ and become his collaborators."
 
Gregorio Roldán, secretary general of the event organizing committee, as well as the director of the archdiocese's youth pastoral care, indicated that "this year the objectives of the pastoral plan have a greater projection because of the reception of young people from all over the world during World Youth Day."

"Young people are the principal protagonists," he affirmed.
 
Roldán said that the August event will give impulse to "the evangelization of society; it will be a testimony in a broken society of a people that is articulated around Jesus Christ."

Prayer and action
 
The plan's lines of action are summarized in three main areas: to grow in knowledge of Jesus Christ, to foment prayer and participation in the sacraments, and to witness the faith in word and action. 
 
The plan includes distributing quarterly material, such as two guides, one pedagogic and the other methodological, and guidelines for pastoral work. 
 
The plan is inspired in the theme of the youth day: "Planted and Built up in Jesus Christ, Firm in the Faith" (cf. Colossians 2:7).

This verse from the letter of St. Paul was elaborated on by Benedict XVI in his recently published message for the upcoming World Youth Day. 
 
In his message, the Pope pointed out that "the quality of our meeting will depend above all on our spiritual preparation, our prayer, our common hearing of the word of God and our mutual support." 

He encouraged young people to address a personal challenge: "Begin and cultivate a personal dialogue with Jesus Christ [...], speak with him in prayer, trust him, he will never betray you." 
 
The preparation for Madrid's World Youth Day began in 2008, shortly after the previous one ended in Sydney, Australia. 

Soul of the event
 
After the announcement that Madrid would host the next World Youth Day, Cardinal Antonio María Rouco, archbishop of Madrid, asked the congregations of contemplative life in his archdiocese to begin praying for the preparation and fruits of the event.

Roldán noted that "the religious are the soul of World Youth Day."
 
The pastoral plan emphasized especially personal preparation through improving prayer and knowledge of Jesus Christ, and the habitual reception of the sacraments of the Eucharist and penance. 

In regard to community preparation, it suggested family prayer, participation in parish life and announcing the World Youth Day to friends and acquaintances. It added that the sacrament of confirmation should be promoted among young people who have not yet received it. 
 
All the faithful are called to take part in the organization of the event. In his pastoral letter of last June, Cardinal Rouco appealed to the generosity of families to receive young people from all over the world in their homes, affirming that they "will receive a lovely testimony of faith by taking part in the prayer of families that receive them and invite them to take part in common prayer."
 
Another pastoral program tied to next August's event is the pilgrimage of the World Youth Day Cross, which has been traveling across Spain since last year. 

In its course, the cross has visited many realms of ecclesial life in Spain, including schools, parishes, prisons and health centers. 
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