Lunching With the Pope at World Youth Day

12 young adults will share a meal with Benedict.

(photo: Wikipedia)

MADRID, Spain (EWTN News) — Aug. 19 will be a day that 12 young people will never forget: They will have the opportunity to eat lunch with Pope Benedict XVI at the apostolic nunciature in Madrid during World Youth Day.

The communications director for the upcoming World Youth Day, Rafael Rubio, said choosing which young people will attend the event “is probably the most difficult decision that has to be made.”

During the lunch, which will take place at the Hall of Ambassadors at the apostolic nunciature, the Pope will sit down with two young people from each of the five continents that are represented, as well as two young people from Spain.

The Spanish daily ABC featured the testimonies of four of the young people who will work as volunteers for World Youth Day.

Ya Chen-Chuang of Taiwan began volunteering at the World Youth Day executive offices seven months ago and is in charge of the Chinese version of the World Youth Day website. “It is going to be a fantastic experience,” said the 25-year-old woman, who was born into a Catholic family in a country where only 1% of the population is Catholic.

Juan Carlos Piedra, 33, of Ecuador has attended several World Youth Days. Commenting on the opportunity to have lunch with the Pope, he said, “It is a strange sensation that I can’t explain. I would love to take his hand and ask him to pray for Latin America and to tell him I pray for him.”

Twenty-eight-year-old Eva from Slovakia is one of two young people representing Europe. She said she is thinking about what she will say to Pope Benedict: “This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I don’t want to just talk about myself — but, rather, as a representative of the entire continent. I have to think about what things concern young people in Europe and what questions I would like to ask if I was in front of Benedict XVI.”

Paul, a 27-year-old man from Vietnam, will represent Asia. He said he is “very excited about meeting the Pope, but I still don’t know what I will say to him.” 

The four young people said sharing the table with Pope Benedict “is a very special gift” and “an acknowledgment by God of the service they are giving to the Church.”