Cardinal Rylko, President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, mentioned the figure of 440,000 who are currently registered for WYD, a figure that has never been reached in any other WYD at over a month and a half before the start date. He also emphasized that it is "an extraordinary experience of a Church that is a friend to the youth, which places herself at the service of the new generations. It is an experience of the Universal Church which embraces the entire planet, a young Church, full of enthusiasm." He also highlighted the importance of offering religious formation to young people, both in the preparations and at the 260 catechesis in 30 languages to be held during WYD.
Cardinal Rouco, Chairman of the Local Organizing Committee for World Youth Day, highlighted how the preparations are coming to an end and thanked the cooperation of all those who are making WYD in Madrid possible. The Cardinal also mentioned the invaluable assistance of a great many components of Spanish civil society, highlighting the collaboration of parishes, movements and institutions of the Church, volunteers, the various public administrations – the Government, City Hall, and Community of Madrid – as well as the media sources that collaborate with WYD.
Cardinal Rouco also encouraged the international community to make "a new diagnosis of values" in light of the crisis effecting youth and contemporary society, visible in the recent actions carried out by young Spaniards on the streets.
Yago de la Cierva, Executive Director of World Youth Day, has highlighted the important work of the 22,500 volunteers who have been key to organizing an event of this size, which is expected to see more than one million young people arrive in Madrid this August. De la Cierva also revealed the great “excitement” organizers experienced when the Pope accepted the proposal – for the first time in a WYD – to hear the confessions of several young people during the Festival of Forgiveness to be held in Madrid's Parque del Retiro.
The Executive Director of World Youth Day also highlighted the importance of the Solidarity Fund, "essential in enabling young people around the world, in places where the Church is persecuted or has financial difficulties, to fulfill their dream and attend this upcoming WYD."
For Elsa Vázquez, an international volunteer, a Mexican with residence in Australia, this has been "a wonderful experience of a lifetime," that is changing her life and inspires her to convey this message to the world.
José Antonio Martínez, Director of WYD Hospitality, gave an update on the latest registration statistics to the international media accredited by the Holy See, highlighting the numerous registrations of Italian and French youth, the two largest groups.
Lastly, the latest video on WYD volunteers was shown at the press conference. It can be downloaded here: