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Tuesday, July 5, 2011
In the Focolare’s international town at Loppiano a group of young people from around the world prepare for World Youth Day 2011 in Madrid, Spain .

The youth at the "Gen School" in Loppiano prepare a choreography

We asked them what World Youth Day means to them. Here are some of their answers:

“This extraordinary opportunity to gather with other youths at World Youth Day reminds each and every one of us that we aren’t alone in believing that we can make a better world. When we’re together our strength grows in living for this. .

Then, going to Madrid means being with Benedict XVI! At times he could appear to be far removed from our daily life, particularly for us who live on another continent where the Pope isn’t often mentioned. But the Pope is the point of unity for the Catholic Church and we young people also hold a special place for him in our hearts and in our prayers.”.

Maria Lúcia comes from Brazil, she’s sounds quite certain. In fact, she’s absolutely certain when she states:

“WYD allows us to shout to the world that young people are not like many think. . . unable to think of the future, indifferent and passive. We have great ideals and great values!

How are the preparations going? During these past few weeks we’re experiencing a power “acceleration”, inspired by something Chiara Lubich wrote which focuses on the art of loving, to help us improve more each day. Prayer is also helping us to prepare for the WYD with our soul. And the result is that great enthusiasm you experience, because of the joy that we find in God alone.

Mariana, another young Brazilian woman is equally convinced:

“For me this is a strong sign that the world of millions of youths is still more interested and involved more than ever in the Church. Together we hope to show that Christianity is not something of the past. . . quite the opposite! Today still, we young people would like to live for something great!

Personally, I’m very interested in having this experience for myself: youths from many cultures, many ecclesial backgrounds, many movements – all of us together. Our differences are the bricks that will help us to construct a world that is united. I don’t know if we’ll see any planetary changes, but for those of us who attend and for those who are linked up via Internet, it will certainly be a radical experience!”

Kyoko comes from Japan; she belongs to another culture and to another faith group. We are surprised that she is also preparing for WYD. We ask her the same question:

“At first I thought that WYD was only for Christian youths; I’m a Buddhist and didn’t feel a need to attend. But I’ve been here at the  Gen School” in Loppiano for the past few days, and many young people will be going from here to the WYD in Madrid. And so the idea of making the trip with them began to interest me. Now I’m convinced that it can also be an important moment in my life too. I can discover something beautiful, meet other young people whose values might differ from my own; this is what the experience in the Focolare Movement is showing me . . .”.