By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The 2013 World Youth Day (WYD) officially began in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday, July 23rd, and the agenda for the five day event is packed with numerous activities that aim to enrich, entertain and bring together the estimated 2.5 million national and international WYD participants, known as pilgrims.

Pope Francis arrived, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
Pope Francis arrived in Rio and was met by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, photo by Tomaz Silva/ABr.

The activities are taking place throughout the city with four main locations; Copacabana, Quinta Boa Vista, the Cidade da Fé (City of Faith) in Barra da Tijuca’s Riocentro and the 1.36 million square meter space of Campus Fidei (Field of Faith) in Guaratiba, where the Vigil and Final Mass will take place.

The WYD events are divided into six main categories by the organizers; Central Acts, Special Acts, Catechesis, Vocational Fair, Cultural Acts and the Youth Festival.

“The events seem to meet the full range of the needs of young people who are fifteen, sixteen years-old to the young people of sixty, seventy,” Rio resident and pilgrim, Aline Rodrigues told The Rio Times.

The Central Acts include; Opening Mass; the Papal Welcoming Ceremony; the Way of the Cross, the Pilgrimage to Campus Fidei; the Vigil with the Pope; and the Final Mass. For all Central Acts, with the exception of the Pilgrimage, Pope Francis will be present.

Already Pope Francis presided over Opening Mass on the evening of Tuesday, July 23rd which took place at the WYD’s Copacabana stages. The Papal Welcoming Ceremony will also happen there on Thursday afternoon, as will The Way of Cross ceremony on Friday evening.

The Pilgrimage to Campus Fidei in Guaratiba will begin on Saturday morning with the Vigil with the Pope taking place there in the evening. Pope Francis will celebrate the Final Mass with the faithful at Campus Fidei as well on Sunday morning.

The Catechesis in multiple languages will take place in various locations throughout the city with pilgrims assigned to the sessions located nearest to where they are staying or live. Also the Vocational Fairs, which aide pilgrims to help find their callings, will take place in Quinta Boa Vista Tuesday through Friday. The Cidade da Fé is also hosting a Vocational Expo during WYD.

The Youth Festival features an additional 600 activities for pilgrims and the public. Those activities are divided into five main categories; Exhibitions, Music, Religious Tourism, Performing Arts (Theater and Dance) and Cinema.

Forty-five different exhibitions located in various spaces in the city make up the Exhibition category. Among them, the National Museum of Fine Arts (MNBA) will host ‘The legacy of the sacred: masterpieces from the Vatican and Italian museums’ until October 13th.

Acolhida dos Símbolos (Reception of Symbols) in Lapa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
Acolhida dos Símbolos (Reception of Symbols) in Lapa, Rio, photo by Jornada Mundial da Juventude/Flickr Creative Commons License.

The Music category will include 158 bands performing 362 shows in nineteen different spaces, one of which is the Cidade da Fé.

Religious Tourism events involve church tours of the city, hiking tours and general sight-seeing around Rio.

For the Youth Festival Cinema activities there will be more than 150 screenings that will include three international premieres.

Fifty-nine groups representing more than fifteen countries will also perform as part of the theater and dance presentations.

One performer, Carioca Volunteer and pilgrim Juliane D. Albuquerque took time to talk with The Rio Times about her ongoing WYD experiences and the performance she will be a part of on the night of the Saturday, July 27th at the Campus Fidei, in Guaratiba.

She said of her upcoming performance, “The theme of the WYD; ‘Go and make disciples among all nations (Matthew 28: 19)’ will appear in a scene during the show. I’ll be performing this act, the construction of a scenographic church complemented with choreographic elements, with a group of fifty volunteer artists.”

“This will create a sense of action and we will experience that, being inside this and not just being a spectator. We will be representing millions of young people that build the Catholic Church daily with their actions. We are all already really touched and happy with this opportunity.”

On Sunday, July 28th there will also be a massive flash mob dance performance to honor Pope Francis in Campus Fidei. At 9:30 AM the group will perform a choreographed dance to the song “Francisco” as part of the Show do Futuro (Future Show) programming.

The activities of World Youth Day (WYD) will continue until Sunday, July 28th. For a complete searchable list of activities see here.

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