Brazil Bishops Ready for Challenge of WYD '13

Awaiting Pope's Announcement of the Theme

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MADRID, Spain, AUG. 23, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Leading bishops of Brazil are ready and eager to host World Youth Day 2013, though they admit it will be a "great challenge."

At a press conference Sunday in Madrid, Cardinal Raymundo Damasceno Assis, president of the Brazilian episcopal conference; Archbishop Orani João Tempesta of Rio de Janeiro; and Bishop Eduardo Pinheiro da Silva, president of the bishops' commission for youth; said that the choice of Rio de Janeiro as the next WYD host city is a "very special moment for the Church in Brazil."

After expressing his gratitude to the Holy Father for entrusting Rio de Janeiro and Brazil with this "great challenge," Archbishop Tempesta explained that he will shortly contact the Pontifical Council for the Laity to begin the preparations.

The archbishop stated that WYD '13 will be held at the end of July (when schools are on vacation in Brazil), and he said he is already awaiting the Pontiff's announcement of the theme.

Continent

Cardinal Damasceno spoke of the organization of the Church in Latin America through CELAM, the Latin American episcopal council. He said this will make it easier to work together and attract the "largest possible number of young people and many more countries."

The cardinal also noted that the preparatory work will be intense, as WYD will be taking place a year ahead of the soccer World Cup, which Brazil will host in 2014.

"We have one year less to prepare the Day; this means more intense work because we have no time to lose," he said.

Cardinal Damasceno reminded that Latin America is the continent with the largest number of Catholics, and he assured that WYD "will bring many fruits, not only for Brazil's youth but for the whole continent."

For his part, Bishop Pinheiro da Silva predicted that WYD '13 "will show a Church that is alive and creative, in part because of the young people. Brazilian youth, with their creativity, will give us a lovely Day for the whole world."

The bishops added that the Brazilian government is very eager to host the event.

Rio's WYD will be the second in South America. Buenos Aires, Argentina, hosted World Youth Day in 1987.