VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI became the first person to register for the international World Youth Day gathering in Spain next year.
The pope kicked off the registration process at a meeting July 2 with Cardinal Antonio Rouco Varela of Madrid and other organizers of the event. In a talk to the group, the pope said the gathering offers young people a great opportunity to know Jesus Christ and learn to trust his guidance in their lives.
They will also be able to share their values and aspirations with others from around the world, united by “the desire to build a better world inspired by Gospel values,” he said.
The World Youth Day international gathering is to be held in the Spanish capital Aug. 16-21, 2011. Pope Benedict will join the young people for a vigil Aug. 20 and Mass Aug. 21.
The pope told the Spanish cardinal the event “is not just a mass gathering but a privileged occasion for the young of your country and of the entire world to allow themselves to be conquered by the love of Christ Jesus, the Son of God and of Mary, the faithful friend, the victor over sin and death.”
The young people will find, the pope said, that “those who trust in him will never be disillusioned, but will find the strength necessary to chose the right path in life.”
Pope John Paul II established World Youth Day in 1985.
Organizers in Madrid are encouraging early registration because it helps them predict attendance and plan activities and builds funding for the events. Registrants are being asked to contribute 10 euros to a “solidarity fund” that will enable youths from poorer countries to participate.
Registration can be done online at http://en.madrid11.com/JMJ2011ING/REVISTA/cabecerasypies/PortadaHome.asp?vmenu=HOME.