More than two million pilgrims will descend on Rio de Janeiro in Brazil between 23 – 28 July 2013 to join Pope Francis in prayer.
Each two or three years, a world destination is chosen to hold the World Youth Day, which actually runs for five days. And this year the vibrant city of Rio de Janeiro has been selected as host, where more than two million Catholics are expected to attend. Devotees aged between 16 and 35 will congregate to joi Pope Francis in prayer sessions, special lessons and masses.
Pope Francis himself hails from Buenos Aires in Argentina and the event will attract Catholics both from across South America and the rest of the world. This year’s mantra is “Go and make disciples of all nations”.
The last World Youth Day was held in August 2011 in Madrid in Spain where over 1.4 million people attended, which was hosted by the former Pope Benedict XVI. As well as raising awareness of the faith, the event was also said to have generated some 150 million Euros (197 million USD) in tourism revenue. The event featured various organised cultural programmes, special visits to local charities by the Pope and Catechesis sessions.
The biggest World Youth Day gathering was in Manila in the Philippines in 1995, which attracted around 5 million pilgrims.
The very first World Youth Day was in Vatican City in 1984. The ‘Festival of Hope’ was led by Pope John Paul II.
More details can be found on the official World Youth Day site.