Monday, September 19, 2011

WYD back to Latin America

Rio archbishop says World Youth Day helps Christians reconnect with faith

Rio's statue of Jesus

By sending World Youth Day back to Latin America, Pope Benedict XVI is calling the world's attention to the region's Christian past, said Archbishop Orani Tempesta of Rio de Janeiro, host city for the 2013 event. Rio is famous for its huge statue of Jesus high above the city atop Corcovado Peak.

The region's Christian roots "are being lost, little by little, to the false belief that we are a secular country," he said. "Catholic youth make a difference in the world," he added.

The last World Youth Day in South America was in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1987. The choice of Rio de Janeiro to host the World Youth Day creates a "big challenge."

With less than two years to organize the event, scheduled for July 23-28, 2013, the archdiocese is working with the bishops' conference to form planning teams.

On Sept. 18, the symbols of World Youth Day, a cross and an icon of Mary, arrived at Campo de Marte airport. Activities at the event, called "Botafe," a Brazilian expression meaning "believe in it," will include singers, celebrations, testimonies, and Mass.

Archbishop Tempesta, the 61-year-old host of the international youth gathering, is already an active communicator with young people through social networks such as blogs, Twitter and Facebook. He is a member of the Brazilian bishops' social communications commission and is a Cistercian.
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