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12/20/2011 WYD 2013: Río is more than just football, carnival celebrations and violence – Vatican Insider

The Church of Candelaria

23 – 28 July 2013: These are the official dates given for the next World Youth Day (WYD) in Río de Janeiro
andrés beltramo Alvarez
Confirmation came from the Holy See’s Pontifical Council for the Laity during a recent meeting in Rome with the organising committee. The president of the committee, Archbishop Orani João Tempesta sent out a very clear message: there is much more to the Brazilian city than football, carnivals and violence. And he plans to prove this at the 2013 World Youth Day event.

Extraordinary efforts are being made in this South American country, to coordinate the world’s most important Catholic event, where the total number of people attending is expected to exceed one million. The final plans have been sent to the Vatican, following a competition involving almost 200 proposals for the selection of the official location for World Youth Day 2013, with many initiatives being placed on the table.

The symbolic items of the meeting – the cross and an icon – have been making their way across the country since September. They will pass through 268 Brazilian dioceses, inhabited by one of the world’s largest Catholic communities: just over 145 million. The next World Youth Day will be the second one to be held in a Latin American Country. The first gathering took place in Buenos Aires in the mid ‘80s. The impact of WYD 2013 will be felt throughout the entire region; for this reason, it was decided that icons would not just travel around Brazil but also to other Countries.

In February 2012, a commission of the Pontifical Council for the Laity will travel to Río de Janeiro to visit the places where the event’s main public activities are expected to take place.

In an interview with, the Cardinal of Río de Janeiro, Tempesta, spoke about the choice of his city and about how it aims to prepare to welcome the world youth gathering. The archbishop is well aware of the challenges the city faces, ahead of the huge world events it will be hosting over the next five years.

WYD 2013. Why Río de Janeiro?

The Pope chose Río de Janeiro. It is a great gift from God. When Brazil was selected as the host for the next World Youth Day, we considered the possibility of Río hosting it. We hoped it would be chosen because it is a very welcoming city, it is known worldwide and it will be have the capacity to host thousands of people because over the coming years it will be the venue for sports events. But above all, we wanted it to host a Catholic event.

Three years of huge challenges for the Church you lead, given that the eyes of the world will be focused on Río

That is true. Next year the city will host Río+20, the world summit on ecology; then in 2013, the American Continent’s World Championships; in 2014 it will host the World Cup and in 2016 the Olympic Games. This proves Río’s natural flair for welcoming people and above all youngsters. In 2013, we expect the presence of over one million young people from all over the world for the WYD.

You don’t have much time left to organise it

This is true as well; we have a year less than all other hosting Countries to prepare for the event: we have two years which means we need to step the pace up.

Río de Janeiro has, on a number of occasions, made the news because of the violence in the city’s favelas. Can these events show another side to Río?

Violence occurs across the world and in Río de Janeiro too. I think the government is doing a good job to achieve peace but we are aware that the problem of violence is always just around the corner. I believe that youngsters from all over the world who will come to Río, will have the chance to promote peace and show that youngsters want harmony just as other do, in order to do good. The event will be very important for our city and Country for all these reasons.

Bishops will work collectively towards WYD 2013. Will the event be celebrated by the entire Brazilian Catholic Church?

Initially, the Brazilian Episcopal Conference held a vote and all bishops approved the Country’s candidacy for WYD. Only at that point did we start searching for an archdiocese that could host the meeting; that is when our Río diocese was called forth.

Is Río de Janeiro just about the carnival and football? What can the WYD event bring to the city?

12/20/2011 WYD 2013: Río is more than just football, carnival celebrations and violence
The youngsters and the people that follow the Catholic faith have many beautiful gifts to offer to the world. Those who come to Río will of course see that football and the carnival are present here. But they will also be able to see the beauty of this city, its Catholics and the Church. They will be able to reflect and pray, so that they can delve deep within themselves and find God.


December 22, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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