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World Youth Day Madrid 2011 kicks off

Card. Antonio Maria Rouco VarelaArchbishop of Madrid“Welcome to the 26th World Youth Day”The Mass was held in several languages. It was led by the city?s archbishop, cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, who welcomed all young pilgrims to Spain. Card. Antonio Maria Rouco VarelaArchbishop of Madrid“You are all part of the generation of Benedict XVI. It?s not the same as the generation of John Paul II. Your place in life has its own characteristics. Your problems and circumstances have changed. Also celebrating the Mass were 800 bishops, archbishops and cardinals as well as roughly 8,000 priests. The Cardinal honored the words of John Paul II urging youths to not be afraid. Card. Antonio Maria Rouco VarelaArchbishop of Madrid“Don?t be afraid of being a saint. Let Christ live in your heart. Respond to Him with a ?yes? that?s full of excitement and generosity of life.”After the homily, cardinal RoucoVarela blessed several medals with the image of the Virgin de la Almudena, the patroness of Madrid. Also present was Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, the president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity. ; He told the young faithful about the role faith plays in life. Cardinal Stanislaw RylkoPresident of the Pontifical Council for the Laity“Faith is a decisive factor in each person?s life. Everything changes according to whether God exists or not. Faith is like a root that is nourished by the lifeblood of the word of God and the Sacraments.”With thousands of flags from dozens of countries waving through the air, Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko said, the mere presence of so many youths speaks louder than words. Cardinal Stanislaw RylkoPresident of the Pontifical Council for the Laity“You have come to say to say aloud to the whole world, and in particular to Europe which is showing signs of being very lost, your unwavering “yes”! Yes faith is possible.”The theme that will be repeated again and again is the official slogan of World Youth Day. It reads “Planted and Built up in Christ, Firm in the Faith.”One of the patron?s of World Youth Day is Pope John Paul II who first began World Youth Day in 1985. ; Pope Benedict XVI will arrive to Madrid on Thursday August 18th. KLH CTVJMPN