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WASHINGTON (June 9, 2011)—U.S. pilgrims attending World Youth Day (WYD) Madrid 2011 will have the added benefit of a youth facility providing English-language programming. Called "Love and Life: A Home for English-Speaking Pilgrims,” the center will be located at Madrid's Palacio de los Deportes, the city's premiere civic and sports arena. A Mass specifically for U.S. pilgrims is scheduled at the facility the morning of Saturday, August 20, with over 60 U.S. bishops expected to participate and concelebrate.
Activities at the center, scheduled around the WYD program of events, will include Masses and devotions, catechesis sessions, concerts, speakers, testimonies, prayer, movie screenings, and more. The air-conditioned facility seats 15,000 in its main event hall and its exhibition areas will contain a chapel specially constructed for WYD, as well as informational displays, an art show and support for the young visitors to Spain's capital city. It will also offer them a place to rest from the summer heat.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will be providing the animating team for Friday’s catechesis session at the center and is also involved in offering a lectio divina experience on Friday evening after the Via Crucis (Stations of the Cross). U.S. Bishops will be present at the site throughout the “Youth Festival” times to interact with the young pilgrims. Several U.S. bishops will provide catechesis at the site as well as at other locations. USCCB is also sponsoring a concert before the Mass on Saturday offered by Oregon Catholic Press and World Library Publications, beginning at 9:00 a.m. At the conclusion of the Mass, the pilgrims will be “sent forth” by the bishops to the Cuarto Vientos Airport, where many of them will participate in the evening Prayer Vigil and will spend the night. The WYD closing Mass with Pope Benedict XVI will also be hosted at this location.
The Knights of Columbus and the Sisters of Life are sponsoring the “Love and Life” pilgrim center and have worked closely with USCCB’s WYD coordinators, Rick McCord and Sister Eileen McCann, CSJ. The center will be opened to all WYD participants free of charge. Co-sponsors include Holy Cross Family Ministries, Canada's Salt and Light Television Network, the Apostleship of Prayer, the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS), World Youth Alliance and the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family.
More than one million people are expected to participate in WYD events, which begin Tuesday, Aug. 16, and end Sunday, Aug. 21, with an open-air Mass celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI. At least 25,000 U.S. pilgrims will travel to the Spanish capital this summer for the event.
For those who can’t go to Madrid this summer but wish to follow WYD events from home, the USCCB’s Communications Department has launched a first-ever “Virtual Pilgrimage.” Through a Facebook application and website for non-Facebook users individuals can create an avatar and use it to participate in the virtual pilgrimage. A Google map provides visuals of where pilgrims are coming from and where they are in Madrid —uniting pilgrims from across the U.S. and world.
The USCCB has also created a Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Virtual-World-Youth-Day/155152027881863) where virtual pilgrims can “participate” in WYD by viewing live video feed from Madrid, following twitter feeds and blogs, and uploaded photos and videos from the event. Non-Facebook users who wish to create an avatar can go to http://www.virtualworldyouthday.org/.
For information about WYD schedule and updates visit WYD Madrid 2011 official site: http://www.madrid11.com/en
Keywords: Madrid 2011, World Youth Day, youth, U.S. bishops, Knights of Columbus, virtual pilgrimage
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