Young people head to Madrid for world’s biggest youth festival – and the Pope

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Young people from across the UK are setting off on a pilgrimage journey this week to meet the Pope in Madrid.

Nearly 4000 pilgrims from the UK will walk alongside 1 million pilgrims from every continent to see the Pope for World Youth Day (16-21 August) and there’ll be no need for wellies and waterproofs – temperatures are set to soar.

The late Blessed John Paul II began the World Youth Days which have become the biggest mobilisation of young people ever in the cause of peace. Organised by the Catholic Church, WYD brings together young people from around the globe to celebrate and learn about the Catholic faith. This 26th
WYD will be the largest event Madrid has ever hosted, with over two million young people expected in the city. It has as its theme “Planted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the faith” (cf. Col 2:7).

World Youth Days are celebrated every 3 years in a different country – the last World Youth Day took place in Sydney, Australia in 2008. World Youth Days are simply the biggest gathering of young people in the world – 5.000.000 pilgrims attended World Youth Day in Manila, Philippines, which was the largest gathering of people in history. Other World Youth Days have attracted similar large numbers:

1991 – Czestochowa, Poland – 1.600.000

2000 – Rome – 2.000.000

2005 – Cologne, Germany – 1.200.000

The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI will arrive in Madrid on Thursday 18 August and depart on Sunday 21 August.

Full itinerary for World Youth Day, Madrid:

Madrid Line Up

The official World Youth Day week begins on Tuesday 16 August with an opening Mass in Madrid’s Cibeles Square (where Real Madrid celebrate championship wins), presided over by the archbishop of Madrid and concelebrated by the bishops and priests participating in World Youth Day.

In the days leading up to World Youth Day, August 11-15, 2011, many dioceses from Spain will welcome young pilgrims from across the world for Days in the Diocese; the Days are centred around three pillars – prayer, solidarity and culture. The young pilgrims will spend a few hours each day helping the local church in her outreach to the poor and local community building.

Clifton pilgrim, Tom Rees live from Bristol airport en route to Spain said: “World Youth Day is a beacon for the Church’s care and devotion to the welfare and spiritual wellbeing of is young adults, with the perfect blend of celebration and reflection, its unquestionable that this event revitalises faith in our young people. What greater way to celebrate this than with thousands of young people all from different cultures, backgrounds and experiences. This is something the days in the diocese is really going to give us a flavour of, something I’m really looking forward to.

Alice O’Neill, also from Clifton diocese said: “World Youth Day is an amazing opportunity to come together to celebrate the message of good news that is our faith. The biggest youth event in the world, it shines as an example of the joy of Christ’s message, and the dedication of the young people of the Church. Having met the Holy Father in London last year, I cannot wait to see him again this month. I’m really looking forward to sharing in the excitement of the 2 million pilgrims who will gather to say Mass with him – it’ll truly be the highlight of the whole experience for me.”

Pics from the Bristol Airport WYD Departure –

Audio from the departure –

Archbishop Vincent Nichols who will be joining the UK pilgrims in Madrid to see the Pope asked for prayers for the World Youth Day pilgr

“I pray that the Holy Spirit will help us in Madrid to rediscover our faith if it is lost, strengthen it if it has become weak, and help us to savour it as fellowship with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.”


UK pilgrims social media platforms for World Youth Day!/ukpilgrims

World Youth Day from a diocesan perspective

For interviews with UK pilgrims, priests, religious and bishops in Spain, please contact the CCN on 07760 251 954