The World Council of Churches is to participate in the World Youth Day (WYD) in Madrid, Spain, 16-21 August 2011, in the presence of Pope Benedict XVI.
The theme of the 2011 WYD is “Rooted and Built Up in Jesus Christ, Firm in the Faith” (Colossians 2.7, New Testament).
The WCC says its move is "consistent with our commitment to strengthen long-standing relations with the Roman Catholic Church and to foster youth involvement in the one ecumenical movement."
Three members of the Echos Commission on Youth in the Ecumenical Movement, the WCC youth body, were graciously invited by the International Young Catholic Students (IYCS) to join their official delegation. A IYCS delegate represents Roman Catholic youth on the Echos Commission.
Diana Fernandes Dos Santos (Brazil), moderator of the Echos Commission, Mikael Giødesen (Denmark) and Nikos Kosmidis (Greece) will participate in a panel discussion on “Youth and the Search for Christian Unity”.
The event is a joint initiative of the International Young Catholic Students (IYCS), the International Movement of Catholic Students (IMCS) Pax Romana, the Juventud Estudiante Catolica (JEC), and the Echos Commission.
Echos member Kosmidis will be part of a group of 50 young people who will accompany Benedict XVI throughout a solemn vigil on Saturday 20 June. The vigil, which will take place at the Cuatro Vientos aerodrome, is expected to bring together hundreds of thousands of pilgrims. An address to the participants is planned by Pope Benedict.
World Youth Day is the largest youth-oriented event within the Roman Catholic Church. It was initiated by Pope John Paul II in 1985 and since that time has gathered millions of young people from all over the world, regardless of their religious convictions.
Previous cities that hosted a WYD include Toronto in 2002 (800,000 participants), Cologne in 2005 (1,200,000 participants) and Sydney in 2008 (400,000 participants).