For the first time ever, 60 thousand adolescents from around the world encounter Pope Francis for the Jubilee for Young Boys and Girls
Many activities planned from the 23rd to the 25th of April in the Vatican and around Rome,
and a warm welcome from the parish communities in the Diocese
The colonnade of Saint Peter’s becoming a huge “confessional”, and the “Tents of Mercy” standing out in the Historic Central District of the city: this is how the Vatican and Rome are preparing to welcome thousands of boys and girls from every part of Italy and all over the world, who will gather together in the Eternal City for the Jubilee Event dedicated to them, to take place from 23-25 April. There will be three intense days with prayer, confession, the pilgrimage to the Holy Door of Saint Peter’s, and also celebration and sharing as part of this Holy Year of Mercy. "This grace-filled moment also concerns you, dear young people. I encourage you to take an active part in this celebration and to realize that each of you is a child of God (cf. 1 Jn 3:1),” wrote Pope Francis in his Message for the Jubilee of Mercy for Young Boys and Girls, exhorting all of them to feel invited to live the Holy Year of Mercy and to participate in the Jubilee event and its theme “Grow Merciful like the Father”. For the reason, there is a downloadable guide for preparing for the event at the link http://www.gmg2016.it/giubileo-dei-ragazzi/sussidio/.
Saturday, 23 April will open with the Pilgrimage to the Holy Door; the youth will begin by walking from Castel Sant’Angelo along Via della Conciliazione to Saint Peter’s Square. Bernini’s famous colonnade will be transformed into the “embrace” of the Father that as many boys and girls as possible can experience in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, thanks to the more than 150 priests who will take turns hearing confessions all day, from 9:30 to 17:30. In the afternoon, after the pilgrimage to the Holy Door has concluded with the profession of faith inside Saint Peter’s Basilica above the Tomb of Saint Peter, the youth will travel to the Olympic Stadium for a big rally with music and testimonies beginning at 20:30. By 19:00 the stadium will already have become a theater for exhibitions by groups from various dioceses, who will express diverse experiences of youth ministry. The evening of celebration, included as part of the three days of Jubilee activities, is being organized by the National Service for Youth Ministry of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI), and will be transmitted live on Tv2000 and INBLU Radio. The rally will be led Simone Annichiarico, along with the actress Tosca d’Aquino. Manolo Casalino, a television and theater choreographer, will also contribute, not to mention many other artists who will appear: Lorenzo Fragola, Francesca Michielin, Arisa, Giovanni Caccamo, Moreno, Deborah Iurato, Shari, Dear Jack, Fuoricontrollo e Andrea D'Alessio. Alternating with the entertainment on the Olympic Stadium stage will be important and varied personal reflections on life from representatives in the areas of cinema, sports, and astronomy.
On Sunday, 24 April at 10:30, the Holy Mass with Pope Francis in Saint Peter’s Square will bring this important Jubilee Event to its culmination. The day will continue afterwards with visits to the Tents of Mercy that have been set up for the occasion, and will be open from Saturday to Monday. Seven squares in the Central Historic District of Rome (Piazza S. Silvestro, Piazza di Spagna, Piazza S. Salvatore in Lauro, Piazza S. Maria in Trastevere, Piazza di S. Maria in Vallicella - Chiesa Nuova, Piazza Pia at Castel Sant’Angelo and the area of the Terrazza del Pincio) will host the tents providing testimonies about spiritual and corporal works of mercy for the pilgrims and the citizens of Rome. The majority of the youth who will arrive in Rome for this event will be hosted by the Roman parishes. In fact, over 200 communities responded to the invitation from the Service for Youth Ministry in the Diocese of Rome and the Roman Oratorian Center by making available sleeping space on their floors, in the style of World Youth Day. “The Church of Rome, which presides over all the others in charity”, as Saint Ignatius wrote, has the face of these parishioners and youth of the Roman communities among whom the preparations for the arrival of the visiting boys and girls are in full swing. Finally, during these days, the Italian State will provide a caravan near Castel Sant’Angelo to educate the youth about the responsible use of the internet and social media.