RADIO VATICANA REPORT: This year’s World Youth Day will take place in the Spanish capital Aug. 16-20. Pope Benedict XVI is scheduled to arrive Thursday, Aug. 18. In total, he will preside at nine events with young people over four days.
But this, the Pope’s third visit to Spain, will also have the diplomatic protocol of an official state visit. In fact the Holy Father will visit with the head of Spain, King Juan Carlos and meet with the Prime Minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero.
Speaking to Vatican Radio from Madrid Apsotolic Nunicio Archbishop Renzo Fratini says Spain “is waiting for the Holy Father with great desire and hope that he will also encourage a spiritual rebirth of the nation”.
The Nuncio in Madrid says the nation is going through a crisis of values and believes that the Pope will bring a new wind to society,” even though Pope Benedict’s mission is primarily a spiritual one.
He says “many young people feel disillusioned and are in need of new hope and so this day - I believe - represents a new beginning”. The Nuncio believes that this World Youth Day is a crucial component in Pope Benedict’s vision of a ‘new evangelization’ of the European continent.
Archbishop Fratini says “The Pope will also make time for confessions - a testimony to indicate that the Christian life really starts from an inner renewal, from a conversion: the return to God.”
The theme for World Youth Day in Madrid is “Rooted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the Faith,” taken from St. Paul’s Letter to the Colossians. Archbishop Fratini believes this to be particularly apt in a time of economic uncertainty.
“I believe it is a good opportunity to rediscover the foundations of the fundamental choice of Christian life: live it every day in relationship with others and in a dimension of solidarity and openness to the world”. The Archbishop concluded with the hope that the week of events will help lead many young people to discover their vocation in life.
This afternoon, at 17.30, in the inner courtyard of the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo, a concert held in honor of Pope Benedict XVI and his brother, Monsignor Georg Ratzinger, on the occasion of the anniversary of priesthood 60.mo.
The program includes music by Johann Sebastian Bach and Antonio Vivaldi, performed by Master Albrecht Mayer, oboe and violin by Arabella Steinbacher. With them also the ' New Seasons Ensemble , composed of six musicians from different orchestras.