| WORLD YOUTH DAY: KEY EVENT OF GREAT JUBILEE OF 2000
| "Place Them in the Presence of Christ"
VATICAN CITY, (ZENIT.org).- World Youth Day is a key event of the Great Jubilee of the
Year 2000; an exceptional occasion filled with religious and spiritual meaning. In order to
discover the progress made to date in preparations, ZENIT interviewed Professor Guzmán
Carriquiry, under-secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, which is responsible for the
G. CARRIQUIRY: It is very important to highlight that this World Youth Day is taking place in
Rome. Thus, the testimony of Peter and Paul, the apostolic tradition, the Magisterium of the
Church, and the presence of the Vicar of Christ will be evidenced.
It is not accidental that one of the fundamental acts of the youth will be the profession of faith
through the Apostles Creed. Where in Paris the reference point was baptism, here in Rome the
youth's response will be reflected in the proclamation of the Creed. In keeping with this, we will
take up the whole of Christian tradition, which is expressed in a superb way in the testimony of
the Roman martyrs, Peter and Paul, Stephen and Lawrence, Agnes and Cecilia, Sebastian and
Clement, Calixtus and the most recent martyrs from around the world. It is within this
framework that the youth's testimony is placed. They, together with the Holy Father, will
proclaim the Creed and renew their act of faith.
ZENIT: What preparations are underway for the Day?
G. CARRIQUIRY: There are many novelties. The first is the opening of all Italian dioceses to
welcome the youth. Indeed, the Day in Paris was preceded by the youths' pilgrimage to the
dioceses that would house them. Given that experience, all the dioceses of Italy are planning to
host thousands of youths from other countries between August 12-15.
I recently met with the person in charge of this in the diocese of Vasto, which will house 2,000
youths during those days; the majority are French, but there are also Canadians, Lebanese, and
Spaniards. They will be guests of families of the diocese. This will happen in each Italian
diocese. This initiative involves not only ecclesiastical structures as institutions, but also families
and parishes. All must do something to welcome these youths and thus celebrate the universality
of the faith in each diocese. Italy will be involved in a supportive way during these days, with the
presence of youths coming from different parts of the world.
World Youth Day will begin on August 15 in the afternoon, with a welcome by the Holy Father
in St. Peter's Square. We foresee some 250,000 people attending. We are studying how we will
manage if more arrive.
After the welcome, three days of catechesis will begin, every morning, in all the churches of
Rome and the sub-vicariate dioceses, led by 250 Bishops. Every morning, one third of the
youths will make a Jubilee pilgrimage from Castel Sant'Angelo, down the via della Conciliazione
to St. Peter's Basilica and return. There will be prayer, silence, invocations and reflections,
beginning in the early morning and ending at night. Simultaneously, the other two thirds will be
following a catechesis in the churches.
On Friday, August 18, there will be a Via Crucis, while in the afternoons of the 16, 17, and 18,
there will be what have been called "youth encounters." These will include round tables,
concerts, testimonies, prayer meetings, pilgrimage to the 7 churches, theater productions, etc.
All these events, of the most varied kind, are organized by the diocese through its movements
The great pilgrimage will begin on Saturday, August 19. The youths will walk from the places
where they are staying to Tor Vergata, where they will prepare for a vigil with the Holy Father,
which will begin at 8 p.m. After the vigil, the youths will stay to sleep there, preparing for the
closing Mass the following day.
ZENIT: How many people will come to Rome during those days? Many in the media are
speaking of a mega-gathering.
G. CARRIQUIRY: It will undoubtedly be the largest gathering of the Jubilee, which means
greater organizational effort but for us it is also a great spiritual and missionary commitment. Our
intention is not to highlight a triumphalist show. Our real objective is to launch a very great youth
initiative in the Church, gathered in the Pope's See, to testify to their faith at the tomb of the
Apostles and to renew their faith to be missionaries of the third millennium.
Ours is not just work to bring together masses of youth. We don't want to entertain them, excite
them, or relax them. Instead, we hope to place each youth in the presence of Christ. A presence
that is real and persuasive like that one that appeared to the apostles 2000 years ago. In the
Pope's view, the youths will find Christ's first witness again.