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Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Rio de Janeiro welcomes 2 million young people for the XXVIII edition of World Youth Day. But not only. It also welcomes Pope Francis , who on his first apostolic journey will meet with young people in Copacabana for the Via Crucis, and in Campus Fidei for the Vigil and for Mass at the conclusion of WYD.

Pope Francis will meet “the ones living on the outskirts”;  he will visit a slum area  in Rio de  Janiero,  where he will meet  the community of  Varginha;  he will also meet some young inmates inRio.  The Holy Father will  attend the  opening of  a new complex   for  drug addicts at St Francis ofAssisiHospital, one of the social legacies of World Youth Day.

The Pope cannot  miss a visit to the Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida, where in 2007 the Fifth General Conference of Latin American and Caribbean Bishops  (CELAM) took place.  Pope Francis gave, as a gift, the important and significant Document of Aparecida[1], issued by this General Conference  to Heads of Latin American States who have visited him in recent weeks.

On July 21, there will be an interreligious meeting  at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janiero. 200 young Jews,  Catholics and Muslims from all overBrazilare expected to attend this meeting.  Although it is taking place before the  official start of the programme, it is considered as an integral part of it. The Archbishop of Rio,Mons. Tempesta will open the meeting.  The aim of this meeting is to draft proposals  for concrete actions to overcome prejudices and to give visibility to what  is already being done in this field inBrazil.  InRio, a group of young people who belong to different religions meet monthly to  move  together along a path of mutual understanding and enrichment.

World Youth day opens our horizons, helps us to grow in our faith and  continues to strengthen  us  in our everyday life with all its problems:  at University, at work, at home. It marks one for life and we are sure that this will also happen here”:  these are the words  of  Mariá  and Leandro, two young members of the Focolare Movement in Rio de Janiero, who, together with others, are  actively  involved in the preparation of this great international event. They are  working on  several fronts, which  include the musical on the life of Blessed Chiara Luce Badano (see dossier below);  they are also among the intercessors of the Day.  The musical will be presented on July 24 at  the Grand Auditorium of “Cidade das Artes”, in Barra da Tijuca, the cultural centre of Rio de Janiero. This musical  is being prepared together with friends from other Catholic Movements,  other Christian Churches,   and also ones who know very little about Christianity. Among these there is  a young Buddhist.  Maria Teresa and Ruggero Badano, the parents of Chiara Luce are expected to participate. For this occasion, the publishing house Cidade Nova is launching “25 minutos: a vida de Chiara Luce Badano”, the Portugese edition of the  book  written by Franz Coriasco.  500,000 copies  of this book will be distributed  to the young people attending WYD, an initiative  carried out  in collaboration with “Aid to the Church in need”.

During the Vigil of July 27  at Campus Fidei, about 200 young people from Aparecida and Sao Paulo, belonging to Fazenda da Esperança and other  similar associations  will  be on the main stage with Gen Rosso. They will perform some scenes from “Streetlight”, thus witnessing   the change experienced in their lives  through  giving themselves and their talents to others.  For almost two months  the Gen Rosso   Group has been touring Brazil with its “ Strong without violence” project  (see dossier below).

The WYD in Rio   presents  an excellent opportunity to boost the  social initiatives  carried out by the Focolare Movement inBrazil. There is an on-going  collaboration with various organizations that draw their energy from the spirituality  of unity.  The atmosphere of  the contagious generosity, typical of WYD, together with the sharing of  experiences of  those engaged in this field,  will be a source of encouragement to reach out  to those, young or old, that are in need .