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A look ahead to the Catechesis Sessions of WYD Rio

Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB

July 18, 2013
Madrid WYD cropped
The word "catechesis" means an education in the faith, with a view to initiate the hearers into the fullness of Christian life.  One of the principal activities of World Youth Days (WYD) are the catechesis sessions taking place in churches, schools, arenas and other venues throughout the vast city of Rio de Janeiro.  Led by cardinals and bishops from around the world who are invited by the Pontifical Council for the Laity (PCL), catechesis is a moment of reflection and an in-depth examination of the WYD theme offered by the Pope.  The theme for this World Youth Day is "Go and make disciples among all the nations" drawn from Matthew's Gospel, 28:19. Young people from different countries speaking a common language gather together with priests, bishops, and cardinals to pray and meditate on the Word of God and its impact on their lives.
The World Youth Day Catechesis sessions will occur Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of next week, July 24-26.  The formal program begins at at 9:00 a.m. with praise conducted by a group of volunteers selected by the PCL. Then, the catechist bishop will present the topic of the catechesis. Each session will welcome a different bishop or cardinal for each day.
After the bishop or cardinal has given his meditation on the particular designated theme, World Youth Day pilgrims can pose questions to the presenter leading the catechesis session. The activities close with Holy Mass presided by a catechist bishop and concelebrated by priests who would have also heard pilgrims' confessions alongside the morning program.
As of today, there are 267 catechesis sessions planned throughout the city of Rio.  Catecheses will be held in 20 different languages, including Arabic, Croatian, Danish, Slovenian, Greek, Czech and Russian. The Metropolitan Cathedral of São Sebastião in the centre of Rio and one of the pavilions in the Riocentro exhibition and convention centre in the Jacarepaguá area will be hosting the largest number of pilgrims. They both have a capacity of 5000 Portuguese-speaking pilgrims.  There will be 133 venues offering catecheses in Portuguese and 50 in Spanish. Other venues will be divided as follows: 25 venues allocated to English language catecheses, 15 to Italian, 15 to French, 8 to German and 5 to Polish catecheses.
One of the major English language catechesis sites will be the Vivo Rio Pilgrim Centre.  This is a performing arts facility in the eastern Flamengo area of Rio, on the shores of Guanabara Bay, not far from other World Youth Day activities around the city. The facility is accessible by the city's metro system, making it convenient for World Youth Day pilgrims traveling in from around the area.  The use of the centre has been made possible through a generous grant from the Supreme Council of the Knights of Columbus. Journalists and media are most welcome to visit this site and have access to young pilgrims, youth leaders and bishops from the USA, Canada, England, Ireland, Scotland, Australia and several other English-language countries.
The following are press releases from the United States and Canadian Bishops' Conferences for more details about the Vivo Rio venue.
"World Youth Day In Rio De Janeiro To Host English-Language Site" http://www.usccb.org/news/2013/13-113.cfm
"Over 1,000 Canadian youth going to Rio for World Youth Day 2013" http://www.cccb.ca/site/eng/media-room/3649-over-1000-canadian-youth-going-to-rio-for-world-youth-day-2013
Catechesis Sessions for WYD 2013 in Rio
The themes of the three catecheses are linked to the general theme of the 28th World Youth Day "Go and make disciples of all nations!" (cf Mt 28:19).   Bishops and cardinals are encouraged to bring their own personal testimony to the catecheses. They could also tell the young people about some of the positive and interesting role models that abound - saints, outstanding young people (i.e. Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, Blessed Chiara Luce Badano, or other patrons and intercessors for WYD 2013).
Bishop catechists speak on the theme of the day for 20-30 minutes initially. This will be followed by sufficient time for a question-and-answer session in which young people have the opportunity to address questions to the bishop.
When preparing their catecheses, bishop catechists often refer back to Pope  Benedict XVI's Message to the Youth of the World for the 28th World Youth Day.  In the case of this Brazilian World Youth Day, many bishops will refer to the concluding document of the Fifth General Conference of the Episcopate of Latin America and the Caribbean, held in Aparecida in 2007 on the theme: "Disciples and missionaries of Jesus Christ, so that our people may have life in him."
The themes of the catecheses are as follows:
1st Catechesis (Wednesday 24 July): "Thirsting for hope, thirsting for God"
2nd Catechesis (Thursday July 25): "To be Christ's disciples"
3rd Catechesis (Friday 26 July): "To be missionaries: 'Go forth!'"
The Scripture Readings for the Masses following Catechesis Sessions are as follows:
Mass of the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus (Wednesday 24 July): First Reading - Hosea 11: 1, 3-4, 8c-9; Responsorial Psalm - Ps 102 (103): 1-4, 8, 10, 17-18a (R. "The Lord is kind and merciful"); Gospel - Mt 11: 25-30.
Mass for the Feast of Saint James, apostle (Thursday 25 July): First Reading - 2 Corinthians 4: 7-15; Responsorial Psalm - Ps 125 (126): 1-2ab, 2cd-3, 4-5, 6 (R. "Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing"); Gospel - Mt 20: 20-28.
Mass for the New Evangelization (Friday 26 July): First Reading - Colossians 3: 12-17; Responsorial Psalm - Ps 21(22), 26, 27ab, 28ab, 30c, 31, 32 (R. "I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters"); Gospel - Lk 4: 14-22a.