Young British Catholics in Rio to see the Pope

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World Youth Day: 22-28 July

800 young British Catholics arrived in Rio de Janeiro this week, eagerly awaiting the arrival of Pope Francis for the World Youth Day festival.

The first Latin American Pope arrives in Brazil on Monday 22 July and some notable highlights of the seven day visit include:

  • the blessing of a drug addiction clinic

  • a visit to the favela of Manguinhos, one of the poorest in Rio

  • a welcome ceremony on Copacabana beach

  • the hearing of young Catholics’ confessions

  • silent adoration

  • celebration of Mass with upwards of 1.5 million pilgrims.

This is Pope Francis’ first international trip as Pontiff.

Full Papal schedule

Spiritual and practical preparations for the largest youth festival in the world have been taking place across the country over the past year in the Dioceses of Westminster, East Anglia, Birmingham, Liverpool and Aberdeen which have all sent sizeable groups. Other pilgrim groups include the University of London, Cafod and the Neo-Catechumenal Way (a new global movement within the Church).

Four English Bishops will be attending – Archbishop Bernard Longley (Birmingham), Bishop John Sherrington (Auxiliary, Westminster), Bishop William Kenney (Auxiliary Birmingham) and Bishop Alan Hopes (East Anglia). And Bishop Hugh Gilbert from Scotland (Aberdeen).

There is a strong British line-up on the World Youth Day social media team in Rio itself and British pilgrims have responded to the papal call to be ambassadors to their contemporaries within the digital continent on their blog and through social media:




This year the English version of the WYD Anthem will be performed by an English band, Ooberfuse, hear it here – ‘Go be missionaries’.

British Singer/Songwriter Edwin Fawcett will also be performing at WYD Rio.

WYD @ home

For those young people unable to travel to Rio, there are ‘WYD @ home’ events. There is one in the north and one in the south – the ‘Rio comes to Kent’ Brightlights festival is at Aylesford Priory and ‘Rio’s coming to Castlerigg’ is in Keswick, Cumbria. Both promise to be the next best thing to Rio this summer.

World Youth Day – Rio 2013

In size and scale WYD is a major international youth event that, on major celebration days, far exceeds an Olympic Games or Rugby World Cup for the host city.

World Youth Day – the largest youth event in the world – will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from 22-28 July 2013.

Pope John Paul II established World Youth Day in 1985, and the first official WYD was held in 1986 as an annual event to reach out to the next generation of Catholics.

The first World Youth Day was held in Rome. It is celebrated every year in Rome at a Diocesan level and a major international celebration is held every 2-3 years in a different host city.

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