Youth receive the Pope
The Pope will enter the area by way of Calle Serano, traveling towards Plaza de la Independencia, home to the centuries-old Puerta de Alcalá – one of the main entrances to the city dating back to the 18th century. There, he will be welcomed by the mayor of Madrid, along with the entire city council, who will present him with the keys to the city. He will then travel to the Puerta de Alcalá to cross it accompanied by 50 young people representing every continent.
After the events in the Plaza de la Independencia, the Pope will travel by popemobile through the streets lined with young people waiting to welcome him: Calle Alcalá, Paseo de Recoletos, and Paseo de El Prado. After his tour through the streets, the Holy Father will travel to the stage set up in front of the City Hall, which will host the Welcoming Ceremony.
The last of the events in the city’s downtown area will be celebrated on August 19: the Via Crucis or Stations of the Cross will tour the Paseo de Recoletos, from Plaza de Colón to Plaza de Cibeles, where the Pope will preside the act. This event will feature 15-carvings from the Spanish Holy Week processions, "a unique event in the world," as defined by Jiménez Arellano.
Developments in the organization
Yago de la Cierva, Executive Director of World Youth Day, gave a briefing on some of the most recent developments. "There are still several small details left to take care of," he said. After finishing up with the construction and services to be carried out at the main sites, the contingent of volunteers has now risen to about 30,000 people. Likewise, in recent days there has been a slight increase in bishops who will give catechesis sessions during the week of WYD, now numbering about 250.
In addition, the official WYD backpack has been presented. The backpack (to be distributed to registered youth) will contain the pilgrim pass to access reserved areas at the main events and events of the WYD Cultural Program, accident insurance, a public transport pass, a book of the Gospels, a book to follow the ceremonies, the WYD Guide, the YouCat, a hat, a shirt, a fan, a Rosary, and city maps.
There was also a presentation of the commemorative ONCE lottery ticket that will be issued the week of WYD and will be drawn on August 20.