By David Kerr
Pope Benedict XVI has unveiled the theme for the next international level World Youth Day. The meeting will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2013.
“The motto will be the command of Jesus: ‘Go and make disciples of all peoples.’ Even now I entrust to the prayers of all the preparation of these very important appointments,” said the Pope in his August 24 general audience at the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo.
The theme is drawn from the resurrected Christ’s commission to his disciples, as chronicled in the Gospel of Matthew.
The Pope also unveiled the theme for next year’s World Youth Day, which will be held locally in the indvidiual dioceses across the world. The theme for the meeting will be: “Always be joyful in the Lord!” which is taken from the Letter of St. Paul to the Philippians.
The Pope’s announcement comes less than a week after his visit to this year’s World Youth Day in Madrid . He described the events of last week as “a stupendous manifestation of faith for Spain and for the whole world.”
During his four days in the Spanish capital, the Pope presided over eight events before reaching the pinnacle of the event–Mass for an estimated two million pilgrims at Madrid’s Cuatro Vientos on Sunday.
“For the multitude of young people from every corner of the earth it was a special occasion for reflection, dialogue, to exchange positive experiences and, above all, to pray together and renew their commitment to root their lives in Christ,” he said.
He reflected upon each event he participated in, paying particular tribute to the young people who had “not been frightened by the rain and wind” during Saturday evening’s lightning storm which engulfed the World Youth Day prayer vigil also held at Cuatro Vientos. Instead, said the Pope, the vast congregation remained “in silent adoration of Christ present in the Eucharist, to praise Him, thank Him and ask Him for help and light.”
He described the World Youth Day pilgrims as a “precious gift which gives hope for the future of the Church” with their “firm and sincere desire to entrench their life in Christ” and to “walk together in the Church.”
Pope Benedict said he was sure that the young pilgrims will return home “with a firm resolve to be leaven in the dough, bringing the hope that is born of faith.” He also assured them all of his continued prayers that they “remain faithful to their commitments.”
The Pope concluded his address by wishing many of the pilgrims “a good return to work” as the summer vacation period draws to a close. He then imparted his apostolic blessing.