CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy (EWTN News/CNA) — Pope Benedict XVI has unveiled the theme for the next international World Youth Day to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2013.
“The motto will be the command of Jesus: ‘Go and make disciples of all peoples.’ Even now I entrust to the prayers of all the preparation of these very important appointments,” said the Pope in his Aug. 24 general audience at the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo.
The theme is drawn from the resurrected Christ’s commission to his disciples, as chronicled in the Gospel of Matthew.
The Pope also unveiled the theme for next year’s World Youth Day, which will be held locally in the individual dioceses across the world. The theme will be: “Always be joyful in the Lord!” which is taken from the Letter of St. Paul to the Philippians.
The Pope’s announcement came less than a week after his visit to this year’s World Youth Day in Madrid. He described the events of last week as “a stupendous manifestation of faith for Spain and for the whole world.”
During his four days in the Spanish capital, the Pope presided over eight events before reaching the pinnacle of the event: Mass for an estimated 2 million pilgrims at Madrid’s Cuatro Vientos airport on Aug. 21.
“For the multitude of young people from every corner of the earth, it was a special occasion for reflection, dialogue, to exchange positive experiences and, above all, to pray together and renew their commitment to root their lives in Christ,” he said.
He reflected upon each event he participated in, paying particular tribute to the young people who had “not been frightened by the rain and wind” during Aug. 20’s lightning storm, which engulfed the World Youth Day prayer vigil, also held at Cuatro Vientos. Instead, said the Pope, the vast congregation remained “in silent adoration of Christ present in the Eucharist, to praise him, thank him and ask him for help and light.”
He described the World Youth Day pilgrims as a “precious gift which gives hope for the future of the Church,” with their “firm and sincere desire to entrench their life in Christ” and to “walk together in the Church.”
Pope Benedict said he was sure that the young pilgrims will return home “with a firm resolve to be leaven in the dough, bringing the hope that is born of faith.” He also assured them all of his continued prayers that they “remain faithful to their commitments.”
The Pope concluded his address by wishing many of the pilgrims “a good return to work” as the summer vacation period draws to a close. He then imparted his apostolic blessing.
The New Evangelization spirit of WYD was commented on by the president of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, who recently explained there is “no recipe for evangelization.” He said that spreading the Gospel requires reinforcing the identity of Catholics and what it means to belong to the Church.
“There is no recipe for evangelization; we need to respect the different cultural situations and the different traditions of the churches in the world,” he said. “The New Evangelization in Europe is not the same as in North America or in the South. But there is a common foundation: We need to foster a stronger personal identity of believers and a stronger sense of belonging to the Church,” the archbishop said Aug. 21 in an interview with the Spanish daily La Razon.
He noted that it is “not easy” to make the message of Christ attractive to young people and that “young people today want consistency — witnesses who are consistent in what they preach and how they live. We cannot proclaim the Gospel without credibility in the way we live our lives.”
He said the Internet “is an instrument, and that is what it should be. The Internet cannot substitute for an interpersonal relationship, because Christianity arises in the capability of two people to encounter one another. When two people look into each other’s eyes, they can perceive credibility.”
Archbishop Fisichella said he sees many opportunities to evangelize in an age marked by de-Christianization. “We are in a crisis, but there is also a new sense of life, dynamism and enthusiasm different from the past.” He added that there were “many enthusiastic young people” at the recent World Youth Day celebrations in Madrid.