In early February, the World Youth Day Press Office for WYD 2011 Madrid made Pope Benedict XVI’s official itinerary public for this August’s World Youth Day.
For the first time as part of WYD, Pope Benedict will be meeting with 2,000 young university professors. “This encounter shows the Pope’s special esteem for the world of higher learning and culture,” said Carla Díez de Rivera, director of the WYD cultural department.
While past World Youth Days have included a meeting and Mass with seminarians, WYD Madrid will also include a meeting with religious sisters at the Monastery of El Escorial.
Friday night’s Stations of the Cross will be held using 14 statues that have been contributed from different parts of Spain. The stations will take place on the Paseo de Recoletos between Plaza de Cibeles and Plaza de Colón.
The Saturday evening prayer vigil and Sunday morning closing Mass will take place at the Cuatro Vientos Air Base, located in the southwest corner of the city, approximately 8 km from downtown Madrid. The airfield also hosted the 2003 encounter of Pope John Paul II with Spanish youth.
THURSDAY, AUG. 18
Arrival at Barajas Airport.
Welcome Ceremony at the State Hall.
Entrance into Madrid in popemobile and arrival at nunciature.
Welcome ceremony with youth at Cibeles.
At the Plaza de la Independencia (near Cibeles), he will pass through the Puerta de Alcalá with youth from all over the world. After this event, he will travel by popemobile to Plaza de Cibeles.
FRIDAY, AUG. 19
Meeting with young religious sisters at the “Patio de los Reyes” at the Monastery of El Escorial.
Meeting with 2,000 young college teachers in the basilica.
Stations of the Cross in the Plaza de Cibeles.
SATURDAY, AUG. 20
Mass for seminarians in the cathedral.
Visit to the “Fundación Instituto San José,” a center for people with disabilities run by the Order of St. John of God.
Prayer vigil with youth at Cuatro Vientos Air Base.
SUNDAY, AUG. 21
Arrival at Cuatro Vientos and popemobile tour of the area.
Closing Mass of WYD begins.
Meeting with World Youth Day volunteers at the IFEMA Fairgrounds.
Official farewell ceremony at Barajas Airport.
Tim Drake is based in St. Joseph, Minnesota.