The Center will serve as a hub of activities during the July 23-28 world youth event that revolves around prayer and meetings with Pope Francis, catechetical sessions and liturgies with bishops from around the world.
The Welcome Center is located at Vivo Rio, 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.
Most Welcome Center programs will take place in the afternoons and evenings from Wednesday, July 24, to Friday, July 26.
On Wednesday, July 24, the United States will hold a special gathering for U.S. pilgrims in the evening hours. In addition, Australia will hold their national gathering in the early afternoon of July 24, and Canada will have their program on Thursday afternoon, July 25.
Artists such as Steve Angrisano, Jesse Manibusan, the Jacob and Matthew Band, and Danielle Rose will be perform on stage throughout the week.
The Center also will include a “Vocations Festival,” where English-speaking pilgrims can connect with bishops, priests and religious brothers and sisters from around the world to address questions and concerns about pursuing their vocational call.
Throughout the week, Canada’s Salt + Light TV and New York’s The Catholic Channel (Sirius XM) will broadcast from the Welcome Center and conduct interviews with pilgrims in Rio and young people tuning in from around the world.
The Welcome Center is a collaborative effort of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, as well as organizations such as the Knights of Columbus, the Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States, Holy Cross Family Ministries, Salt + Light Catholic Television Network, The Catholic Channel, the National Religious Vocations Conference, The Jesuit Conference USA, Oregon Catholic Press and World Library Publications.
The Knights of Columbus are a major contributing sponsor of the Welcome Center.
Media relations for Vivo Rio will be coordinated by Father Thomas Rosica, a priest of the Congregation of St. Basil and CEO of Salt + Light Catholic Media Foundation and WYD coordinator for the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Pope John Paul II initiated World Youth Day in 1986 as a way to reach out to young Catholics. It is celebrated in the Diocese of Rome every Palm Sunday.Internationally it is celebrated in different cities around the world every two or three years. The last international World Youth Day was celebrated in Madrid in August 2011.In 1993, it was celebrated in Denver.Other international World Youth Days have been held in Buenos Aires (1987); Santiago de Compostela, Spain (1989); Czestochowa, Poland (1991); Manila, Philippines (1995); Paris (1997); Rome (2000); Toronto (2002); Cologne (2005); and Sydney (2008). (Zenit)