· First contact with Cardinal Ryłko and the Brazilians in charge ·
World Youth Day is a workshop that is always open. Cardinal Stanisław Ryłko knows something about that, already looking forward to the next event in Rio de Janeiro in 2013. When answering questions from by our newspaper, the President of the Pontifical Council for Laity underlined the great preparatory work that usually separates the celebration of these great ecclesial events “ever new”. It would be an error, in fact, to think of them as repetitive. They express, explained the Prelate, the continuity of the Gospel and at the same time “the continuity of the Church”. The Cardinal knows well each of the mechanisms moving behind these celebrations, having been the head of the youth section for Santiago de Compostela in 1989, for Częstochowa in 1991 and for Denver in 1993, then Secretary in 1995 and, since 2003, President of the Vatican’s dicastery for the laity.
From Madrid 2011 to Rio de Janeiro 2013, there is a long road ahead.
Yes, but time is running out. This is why we have already started working from Madrid. I had my first meeting with the Archbishop of the Brazilian city and with a representative of the National Bishops’ Conference. We fixed a schedule for the up coming events. Meanwhile, the great wooden cross that always arrives before WYD will be like a plow in Brazil, tilling the ground for seeds. It will arrive in the Archdiocese of São Paulo and there start a pilgrimage to each of the country’s 274 dioceses over the 2 years preparation for the event.
So the pastoral challenge continues?
The objective of every WYD is to build a bridge between the extraordinary event of these international meetings with the Pope and the ordinary and concrete lives of young people who live in today’s world. And it is on this terrain that one measures the quality of youth ministry.
Where does one start?
It’s very important to insist on the fact that after you have turned the spotlights off and everyone goes back to daily life, you need to follow up WYD with pastoral ministry. During the meetings in Madrid there were so many seeds sown, thanks to the presence and words of Benedict XVI, both so penetrating. But now comes the harvest time, the time of verification: we need to see how what we have invested in the Universal Church has been received and cultivated in the local ones. Above all, the young people who have chosen the consecrated or priestly life deserve special care, so that their vocation is not just a momentary spark.
What embodies the experience of Madrid?
More than anything, the spiritual atmosphere during the Way of the Cross at the Plaza de Cibeles. The representation of the Christ’s Passion during WYD is not a mere accessory. On the contrary, it ought to be the catalyst, because it is necessary that young people encounter Jesus. Many of them, moreover, have intuited already that one of the placese where this can happen is in the Paschal Mystery. Hence, the importance of the Via Crucis, which in this year’s event really brought out the symbiosis between tradition and today. It was truly a strong moment for WYD Madrid, because it condensed into itself two important aspects: On the one hand, the elegant images and the words of the meditation really made the Paschal Mystery of Christ alive in the now of a young man in the 3rd millennium; on the other, the songs and music were truly impressive, a marvelous synthesis of words, images and young people, who were literally pulled into the mystery.
St. Peter’s Square
Sept. 22, 2019
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