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Celebration of a young faith

· More than 500,000 youth attend the opening Mass of WYD celebrated on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro ·

Pope Francis on a pilgrimage to the Marian Sanctuary of Aparecida to consecrate his Pontificate to the Virgin

Carioca was without a doubt the style of the opening ceremony of the 28th World Youth Day, which  took place Tuesday evening, 23 July, in Rio de Janeiro. All of the typical elements of the Brazilian soul were there. From the natural scenery of Copacabana beach, one of the most famous in the world, to the Coral Carioca WYD exhibition, consisting of one hundred young artists; from the prayer, often transformed into a harmonious melody by a multilingual choir, to the rhythmic wave of hundreds of flags raised under the light from lighthouses scattered to illuminate this wintery night in Rio.

The Mass was attended by 500,000 young people, and was celebrated by Archbishop Tempesta on the beach in Rio. The Pope has followed the ceremony through the images broadcasted in a worldwide telecast. “The Church is young, as everyone can see at WYD. May the Lord always keep us all young at heart”, tweeted the Pope, adding: “Dear young friends, Christ has confidence in you and he entrusts his own mission to you: Go and make disciples!”. On his part, Archbishop Tempesta said that WYD especially calls into question “the real and concrete responsibilities of the adult world”. “It is precisely because we all want a better world, that we need to focus on young people”, reiterated Cardinal Bertone, Secretary of State, during the presentation ceremony of the medal commemorating the visit.

The Holy Father —  following a day without public commitments —  is today, 24 Wednesday, at Aparecida, where he celebrates Mass at the Marian Shrine and consecrates his Pontificate to the Virgin. In the evening he will visit the hospital dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi, which specializes  in rehabilitation for drug addicts and alcoholics, and provides assistance and free medical care to poverty-stricken people.

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