Having been the Artistic Director for WYD2002 in Toronto, there is a very special place in my heart for the Youth Festival. This is the component of WYD, initiated in Paris in 1997, that allows the pilgrims themselves to be co-producers of WYD. The Catechesis Sessions and Main Events are planned by the WYD National Committee, but individual Youth Festival events are planned by the pilgrims themselves. The WYD National Office gives various individuals, lay movements and associations and religious congregations the official invitation and helps them coordinate the sites, but the content of the events is entirely up to the hosting group. In Toronto we have over 200 groups hosting some 500 events, with over 2000 participants from 30 different countries in 8 languages. It was truly a festival, featuring concerts, theatre and dance events, panel discussions, talks, prayer gatherings, art exhibits and film showings.
Madrid has renamed the Youth Festival the "Cultural Program" - but don't be deceived! It is the same festival as always, featuring the same kinds of events. There will be many prayer gatherings and spiritual events to help you in your journey. (Not to say that the concerts, theatre, dance, film and art exhibits will not help you in your journey!)
You can now visit the official WYD website
for a full Cultural Program schedule. Please be warned that there is a lot more than you can possibly take in! But there is certainly something for everyone.
If you have problems deciding, S+L TV will be at the Love and Life Site, sponsored by the Knights of Columbus and the Sisters of Life. As well as being an English catechesis site, the Love and Life Site is the hub for all English-speaking pilgrims and will host dozens of keynote speakers, panel discussions, concerts and other events. For a full Love and Life Site schedule, visit www.wydenglish.com
The Love and Life Site is also host of three national gatherings. The Canadian National Gathering will take place on Tuesday, August 16 at 9am (Madrid time), followed by the Australian National Gathering at noon (Madrid time). The U.S. National Gathering will be on Saturday, August 20, at 9am. All three will be aired live at WYD TV on WYD Central
(for WYD TV schedule click here
. Note that all times are Madrid times) and rebroadcast on S+L TV.
Other than the three national gatherings, many other youth festival events will be aired live at WYD TV on WYD Central
and also on S+L TV's digital cable network. For full details of our youth festival coverage on S+L TV, visit the S+L website