"Young People of the Whole World, Rio Awaits You"

Archbishop-Host of Youth Day '13 Invites Openness, Joy in Preparations

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ROME, APRIL 24, 2012 (Zenit.org).- The archbishop of Rio de Janeiro says the youth of Brazil are energetically preparing for the 2013 World Youth Day, particularly with prayer for the fruits and graces of the event.

Archbishop Orani João Tempesta spoke with ZENIT by telephone Friday, just a few minutes before the beginning of a press conference of the Brazilian bishops' general assembly, held in Aparecida.

He said the youth of his country are preparing the July '13 event "with great joy." The 61-year-old archbishop referred to various initiatives under way, including the pilgrimage of the Youth Day cross.

"Beginning in July [of this year]," Archbishop Tempesta said, "registration for the Day will open and we will begin to prepare all young people in a more organic way, with the union of all the dioceses, to begin to gather the fruits of what has been done up to now and to concentrate on what is yet to come. Moreover, it is a time of prayer in Rio de Janeiro so that young people will live the Day better. Rio is holding Vigils of Prayer with young people and invites everyone to do the same, praying for the Day."

The archbishop confirmed that the nation's bishops are very much involved in the preparations, noting that a whole morning of the episcopal conference's general assembly was dedicated to discussion on World Youth Day.

"Also in several other moments, in documents and interventions, the WYD was always mentioned and contemplated," he said.

The prelate had this message for potential pilgrims: "Young people of the whole world, Rio de Janeiro is awaiting you, just like Christ the Redeemer, with open arms! May everyone come with a spirit of pilgrimage and popular celebration for an experience of Christ together with the Pope in the WYD of Rio de Janeiro from July 23-28, 2013!"

[Reporting by Thacio Siqueira]