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SURPRISES OF JUBILEE WORLD YOUTH DAY

Traditional Program Enriched by Jubilee Experience

VATICAN CITY, AUGUST 11 (ZENIT.org).- The program for the World Youth Day has never been as rich as it is this year. To the fact that over one million young people from around the world will meet with the Pope to share the same faith is added the possibility of living the Jubilee experience in the heart of Catholicism. In addition, over the days of the Youth Jubilee, there will be some 300 open air events.

Today, during a press conference, Archbishop Cesare Nosiglia, president of the Italian Committee for the Youth Day, said that many of the participants are presently traveling in different parts of the Italian peninsula, in order to see some of the artistic and natural treasures of the country, and enjoy the welcome being given them by parishes, schools, and families in different dioceses. Between August 14 and 15, some 500,000 youth will arrive in Rome from 160 countries.

In the course of the week the number of participants will increase to 700,000, and will reach an estimated 1.2 million for the Vigil on the 19th and the Mass on the 20th. In addition, there will be some 5,000 handicapped persons from different countries, who will be given special care, Archbishop Nosiglia said.

On August 15 in the afternoon, Italians and foreigners will be received by the Pope in his residence, in St. John Lateran Square, and later in St. Peter's Square in the Vatican. This is one of the novelties of this World Day. In the past, it was the youth who received the Pope.

The next event scheduled is three days of catechesis: over 323 Cardinals and Bishops from around the world will address the young pilgrims in the mornings, in 32 different languages.

On the first day, August 16, the reflections will be focused on the Incarnation, the mystery of God made man in Jesus Christ. On August 17, they will be centered on the mystery of the Redemption, and on August 18, on the call to sanctity: the consequence stemming from these two great Christian mysteries. The three days will be spent in reflection, prayer, study, and celebration of the faith.

In the afternoons of these three days, meetings entitled youth meetings are scheduled. This event entails 280 open air meetings and activities, with the participation of youth from 30 countries, in 260 meeting places. The events include popular and classical music concerts, guidance in prayer, continuous Gospel reading, ecumenical gatherings, theatrical performances, dance, choirs, art exhibitions, cinema projections, cultural debates, and multimedia shows. It is a meeting of cultures, sensibilities, and histories from all corners of the earth.

On Friday afternoon, August 18, there will be a large-scale Via Crucis, which will gather youth around Christ's Cross. The procession will begin in the "Ara Coeli" Basilica, and will continue through the Via of the Imperial Fora and end in the Colosseum.

Over the three days, August 16, 17, and 18, the different youth groups will live the traditional Holy Year experience: they will be able to make their Jubilee pilgrimage to St. Peter's and, either before or after, go to the Circus Maximus, where they will be able to go to Confession and Communion.

Meals will be distributed in 350 mobile restaurants in the city, near the places of catechesis and celebrations.

But the central event of the World Day will begin on Saturday, the 19th, at night, in the great field of Tor Vergata, located on the outskirts of Rome. The Pope will accompany the youth during the Vigil. The great majority of the young people will spend the night under the stars, hoping that it won't rain.  On Sunday morning, Mass will be celebrated in the same field, after which the Holy Father will send the youth of the new millennium out into the world to preach Jesus' Gospel. 


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