Cardinal Antonio Rouco Varela called the faithful of his archdiocese to the final leg of preparation in a note released Sunday. The Madrid World Youth Day is scheduled for Aug. 16-21.
"We have not failed to prepare ourselves and to dispose ourselves spiritually and pastorally so that Madrid's World Youth Day with the Holy Father, accompanied by bishops and presbyters from all the dioceses of the world, will again be the providential occasion for a profound, authentic and joyful encounter with Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, who calls young people in his Church so that their lives, often depressed and broken, and others fresh and vigorous, will be rooted and built up in him, the only one who can offer them and give them truth, hope and love," the cardinal said.
He pointed to expectation of a "new, beautiful and fruitful time of grace and of the Spirit for the Church and for young people; more than that, [...] a new 'Pentecost,' which will renew hearts."
The cardinal spoke of the "enormous evangelizing potential" of World Youth Day, born "from the singular apostolic charism of Blessed John Paul II, and designed pastorally by him."
An event was held Sunday to thank the volunteers for the work done thus far. The chorus and orchestra for World Youth Day also held its first public performance.
Cardinal Rouco Varela urged the faithful of Madrid to prepare to welcome and support the flood of pilgrims. So far, some 340,000 pilgrims are registered, coming from 170 nations.
"No other attitude is fitting before them than that of fraternal love, lucid in its service and ready to give itself to a truly apostolic cause: that of the evangelization and sanctification of the young people of this time of the Church so full of missionary expectations and hopes that the Risen Lord Jesus Christ will triumph," he said.
A similar charity must be shown to "the visible Pastor of the universal Church, Pope Benedict XVI," he continued. "The Pope will arrive in Madrid in the name of the Lord to lead young people of the whole Church, pilgrims with their bishops and priests, in the World Youth Day, to a new and decisive encounter with Jesus Christ: 'their friend,' 'their Lord,' their Savior!"
Finally, the cardinal called on locals to themselves participate in the events.
"Let us," he said, "take profound advantage of the exceptional grace of this 'new Pentecost' of the young people of the world."
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