US Bishops to Sponsor Youth Day Programming

Mass, Activities Planned at Madrid Arena

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WASHINGTON, D.C., JUNE 12, 2011 (Zenit.org).- World Youth Day pilgrims from the United States will meet up with more than 60 bishops from their homeland for an Aug. 20 Mass in Madrid's premiere sports arena.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) announced the Mass and various other English-language programming initiatives to be held at the Palacio de los Deportes, under the title "Love and Life: A Home for English-Speaking Pilgrims."

The bishops' statement reports that they are preparing to teach and mingle with participants throughout the youth festival, and for those who remain at home, the USCCB is sponsoring a virtual pilgrimage via Facebook that will allow participation from abroad.

Activities at the center, scheduled around the WYD program of events, will include Masses and devotions, catechesis sessions, concerts, speakers, testimonies, prayer and movie screenings.

The air-conditioned facility seats 15,000 in its main event hall and its exhibition areas will have a chapel especially constructed for WYD, as well as informational displays, an art show and support for the young visitors to Madrid. It will also offer them a place to rest from Spain's summer heat.

USCCB will be providing the animating team for Friday's catechesis session and is also involved in offering a lectio divina experience on Friday evening after the Stations of the Cross. U.S. bishops will be present at the site throughout the "Youth Festival" to interact with the young pilgrims. 

Several U.S. bishops will provide catechesis at the site, as well as at other locations. USCCB is also sponsoring a concert before the Mass on Saturday offered by Oregon Catholic Press and World Library Publications, beginning at 9 A.M.. At the conclusion of the Mass, the pilgrims will be "sent forth" by the bishops to the Cuarto Vientos Airport, where many of them will participate in the evening Prayer Vigil with the Pope and will spend the night, awaiting the WYD closing Mass with Benedict XVI at this location.

The Knights of Columbus and the Sisters of Life are sponsoring the "Love and Life" pilgrim center and have worked closely with USCCB's WYD coordinators, Rick McCord and Sister of St. Joseph Eileen McCann.

The center will be opened to all WYD participants free of charge. Co-sponsors include Holy Cross Family Ministries, Canada's Salt and Light Television Network, the Apostleship of Prayer, the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS), World Youth Alliance and the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family.

At least 25,000 U.S. pilgrims will travel to the Spanish capital this summer for the event.

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On the Net:

Activities at the Love and Life Center: www.wydenglish.org

Facebook page: www.facebook.com/pages/Virtual-World-Youth-Day/155152027881863

Others interested in virtual WYD presentation: www.virtualworldyouthday.org/

Official WYD site: www.madrid11.com/en