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Spain is ripe for WYD evangelization, says Vatican cardinal

August 15, 2011

Tens of thousands of young Catholics from all over the world have arrived in Madrid, where World Youth Day (WYD) festivities formally begin on Tuesday, August 16.

Although isolated protests about the costs of WYD (which are borne mostly by the participants) have garnered media attention, the 68 dioceses of Spain have welcomed hordes of young Catholics converging on Madrid from every direction. The influx of pilgrims is expected to peak at over 1 million by Thursday, August 18, when Pope Benedict XVI arrives.

Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, the president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, told Vatican Radio that WYD is “a fascinating testimony of faith, full of enthusiasm and missionary zeal.” He said that the event will be especially beneficial to Spain, a country that he characterized as “a vast laboratory where the serious problems and challenges of post-modernity have manifested themselves with particular force.”

“Without doubt, Spanish society is hungry for hope,” the cardinal said, and WYD will provide a vivid testimony to the hope that so many young people share. “The post-modern world is going through a difficult and deep crisis,” he said, and experiencing “a dangerous vacuum of common values and meaning.” The troubled background will serve to draw extra attention to the lively faith of WYD participants.


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