RIO DE JANEIRO — Held at each World Youth Day as an opportunity to provide formation for participants, the three catechesis sessions in Rio will delve into the Church’s missionary character, said Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York.
This year’s talks will explore “beautiful themes” centered around the call of all Christians to evangelize, the cardinal told Catholic News Agency on July 23.
Pilgrims will be divided up into language groups on the mornings of July 24-26 for catechesis, one of the major teaching elements of World Youth Day.
More than 250 bishops from around the world will be leading the catechesis sessions, stationed at different locations throughout the city.
The sessions offer a chance for prayer and reflection, as well as talks by the bishops to more deeply explore the World Youth Day theme, “Go, and make disciples among all the nations” (Matthew 28:19).
Each catechesis session will also include a question-and-answer period with the youth, Mass and confessions.
Topics for each day are predetermined, Cardinal Dolan said, and this year they include hope and the thirst for God, discipleship and mission.
The Cardinal’s ‘Kids’
While he is looking forward to the entire event, the cardinal said that he is particularity excited to see the youth from his home country for catechesis.
“Even though I just left the United States last night, I'm looking forward to seeing my kids,” he said. “Because I love them! I'm so proud of them!”
Cardinal Dolan said that he enjoys interacting with the groups of young people and discussing the faith with them.
“I've done this before, and I love it,” he said, adding that, although he already knows what he wants to talk about, how the conversation unfolds will depend on the participants.
“You'll often sense there's a chemistry when you get there,” he explained. “You'll kind of say, 'Is this a crowd that I want to get into some theological depth? Is this a crowd where I want to stay more prayerful or conversational?' So you've got to read the crowd. So even though I know what I want to say, it's important to get there.”
The cardinal also voiced excitement for the entirety of World Youth Day and the opportunity to experience Brazil.
Although he had just gotten off the plane a few hours earlier, he said the country had already made a positive impression on him.
In particular, he has enjoyed the Brazilian coffee.
He laughed, “I'd be asleep right now if it weren't for their coffee!”