400,000 Registered for World Youth Day

Madrid's Cardinal Speaks on Remaining 3 Months of Preparation

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MADRID, Spain, MAY 27, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Young people have their whole lives before them, and World Youth Day is the chance to lay the foundations for those lives, says the archbishop of Madrid, where the youth event will be held this August.

Cardinal Antonio María Rouco Varela on Thursday gave a lecture titled "Three Months Away From World Youth Day."

The international gathering with the Pope is scheduled for Aug. 16-21.

"Young people have 'a life ahead of them’ and World Youth Day is an opportunity for them to let the light of Christ into their lives," the 74-year-old cardinal said. "There, in their hearts and in their desires for commitment and solidarity, they can discover the foundation of their life."

The cardinal proposed that the fruits of World Youth Days are quickly evident in vocations to the priesthood, consecrated life and marriage.

"However, above all," he said, "in the long run they make a contribution to today’s society."

World Youth Days "are a personal initiative of John Paul II, who opted for a new generation of youth, the youth of 2000. Now, Benedict XVI is carrying on this legacy," the cardinal stated. "It's the Pope who gathers and attracts the youth."

Cardinal Rouco Varela said the choice of Spain as the WYD venue points to "the spiritual contribution of this country to the history of the Church and to Western culture. This is evident in the spiritual legacy left by the patrons of World Youth Day: St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Rose of Lima, St. Francis Xavier."

He proposed that the youth gathering is not just a Church event, but one for "society and the city hosting it."

The 400,000 registered young people come from 182 countries.

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On the Net:

World Youth Day 2011: www.madrid11.com/en