The cardinal told to PALABRA magazine in an interview published this week that organizers expect “between half a million and a million” to participate in the Aug. 16-21 youth day, although “in the central events … that number will be considerably surpassed.” He said that summer event “will be of an especially missionary nature,” and that it “will give a strong impetus to the apostolic commitment of young people under the sign of the New Evangelization that Benedict XVI has re-launched.”
Explaining the goal of World Youth Day, Cardinal Rouco underlined that the encounter with the Pope seeks to encourage young people to “live their lives deeply rooted in Christ, and to live all aspects of their personal, profession and faith lives in Christ.”
“They are the ones who will be able to begin the path to a deep moral renewal in society,” the cardinal added. “In the end, it is this generation that is called to undertake a true social, cultural and political reform.”
In the face of those who suggest that the fruits of World Youth Day are not lasting, the archbishop of Madrid said “the affirmation does not respond to the truth,” and that “a new youth has arisen in the Church” as a result of the series of international events.
The cardinal anticipates that the World Youth Day fruits will be seen “in vocations, in the spiritual, cultural and intellectual formation of young people; in the field of the family and the university; and it will also be translated into an empowerment of the new ecclesial realities [movement and lay associations], which will be very present here.”
Cardinal Rouco also said that he “prays every day, constantly, to Blessed John Paul II so that he will give a hand from above.” He added, “If there is someone who understands well what we have ahead of us, it is he.”
The cardinal took the opportunity to make a new appeal to young people so that “they will register as soon as possible for the World Youth Day.”
He predicted a warm reception for the youth day pilgrims, and said he “had no worries” that Benedict XVI would also be well received.
The cardinal noted that the organizers secured an additional area for pilgrims adjacent to the Cuatro Vientos airfield that will allow for a greater number of pilgrims to attend. “Our great responsibility in organizing the World Youth Day,” he said, “is that everyone who comes will be able to participate in those two great central events.”