Verdensungdomsdagen presentert i Vatikanet

VATICAN CITY, AUG 11, 2000 (VIS) - This morning in the Holy See Press Office, the 15th World Youth Day was officially presented. The Day will be celebrated in Rome from August 15 to 20.

Cardinal James Francis Stafford, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, said that "we can state today that very many young people have demonstrated that they perceive the Holy Father's invitation to this Jubilee as an event in which they sense the splendor of truth and the promise of happiness for their lives and for their human development. It is Christ Himself who has summoned the young people, through Peter's Successor, His witness and minister!"

For his part, Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the Pope's vicar general for the diocese of Rome, stated that "this 15th World Youth Day, being part of the Great Jubilee, assumes a particularly poignant significance from the point of view of faith and the Holy Father's 'consignment' thereof to the young, that they in their turn become witnesses and missionaries of faith in the future. Consequently, faith in Christ, only Savior of the world, and its living witness represent the heart of WYD."

Archbishop Crescenzio Sepe, secretary of the Central Committee for the Great Jubilee 2000, indicated that "from the Jubilee of Redemption to the Jubilee of the Incarnation, young people from the 1980s and 1990s have carried the Cross of Christ to the world, bearing witness before their peers of the truth of the Gospel. In Rome today, they are preparing to pass this demanding task to the new generations of 2000."

The organizational and logistical aspects were outlined by Archbishop Cesare Nosiglia, president of the Italian Committee for the 15th World Youth Day.

Referring to the number of participants, he said that between August 14 and 15, over 500,000 young people from more than 160 countries are expected to arrive in Rome. Among them are 300 from 27 countries that have recently been or still are involved in grave conflicts, civil war and violence. The number of participants will grow to 700,000 throughout the week, finally reaching and exceeding the number of 1,200,000 for the vigil of August 19 and the Mass of August 20.

Furthermore, added Archbishop Nosiglia, 5,000 handicapped youngsters from various countries will also be present. Special welcome and assistance arrangements have been prepared for them.

The young people will be welcomed in Rome and in the 12 surrounding dioceses. They will be lodged by parishes, religious institutes, schools, families, hotels, public organizations, seminaries and colleges. Meals will be distributed by 350 mobile restaurants placed throughout the city near the places where catechesis and celebrations will be held. The catechesis will be imparted in the various languages by 323 bishops and cardinals, at 160 specially prepared sites.

Archbishop Nosiglia then went on to outline the WYD program of events. In the late afternoon of August 15, the Holy Father will greet young people, first in the square of St. John Lateran then in St. Peter's Square. This will be an occasion "for listening to the Word, for prayer, songs, witness and, above all, for presenting all the groups of young people."

On August 16, 17 and 18, while the majority participate in the catechesis, a third of the young people (approximately 200,000 a day) will make their jubilee pilgrimage to St. Peter's. At some point, all will go to the Circus Maximus, where they will celebrate the Sacrament of Penance and the Eucharist. In the afternoons of August 16 and 17 and for part of August 18, the 'Incontragiovani' (meetings of young people) will take place. These are 280 initiatives organized by movements, groups, parishes and ecclesial entities from 30 different countries, during which the young people will have the opportunity to meet and talk directly.

The 'Via Crucis' will be held at the Colosseum on August 18 at 8:30 p.m., and will take place at the same time in all areas of the city and in the surrounding dioceses.

On Saturday August 19, the young people will walk out to Rome's Tor Vergata University. There, throughout the day, they will be welcomed by songs, music and testimonies, until the hour of the prayer vigil with the Holy Father, due to start at 8:30 p.m.

Mass at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday August 20 will mark the end of World Youth Day, "with the Pope's missionary mandate to the young people that they may take their experience in Rome back to their countries and their lives, into their schools and universities, into the world of work and of culture."

VIS - Vatican Information Service