A letter asking for prayers, the first step in preparing for WYD

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Madrid, January 6, 2011- They say no building is raised without foundations. In World Youth Day in Madrid, this was clear from the outset. WYD is built on prayer. Following the tremendous excitement of that final day of World Youth Day in Sydney, with the announcement that the next World Youth Day would be held in Madrid, it was time to get to work.

The first step that Madrid’s Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela took was that of writing a letter to all the monasteries and convents of contemplative life in Spain, asking that they pray for the young people who would attend WYD.

Spain has over 800 monasteries spread across the country. There are Benedictines, Carthusians, Carmelites, Augustinians, Franciscans, and more, each with their own spirituality, but all with a common mission: that of serving God alone in assiduous prayer and penance.

These monasteries have also been joined by monasteries of contemplative life from all over the world who, with their prayer, are preparing for the upcoming WYD in Madrid.

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 “I discovered my vocation at WYD”
At the Prayer Vigil in Hyde Park, on his visit to Great Britain, Benedict XVI encouraged all young people to listen to God’s voice: “Only Jesus knows what ‘definite service’ he has in mind for you. Ask our Lord what he has in mind for you! Ask him for the generosity to say ‘yes!’”

Among the paths in following God, he highlighted that of the “contemplative religious, who sustain the Church’s witness and activity through their constant prayer.”

But, could someone have a vocation to contemplative life in today’s world? And, most importantly, how do you know if that is your vocation?

Many young people have been touched by God at World Youth Day and later called to religious life. World Youth Day in Rome in 2000 was one such occasion for many people. A sister from one of the convents with the highest number of vocations in Spain, said: “I didn’t realize what had happened there. In fact, I don’t think I even understood what the Pope had said. But, in that event, I saw many young people living my same faith. It was as if in WYD, without realizing it, I had received an indelible mark. Every time I went to a nightclub, I heard a voice saying: ‘You have seen another way to live more fully.’ And that was how I saw my vocation and decided to enter the convent.”

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One of those young people who participated in WYD in Rome, and who is now praying for us in her convent, recently reminded some of those who are working to prepare WYD in Madrid that, “one of the phrases that has most marked my life is what John Paul II said in Tor Vergata, ‘Do not look elsewhere for that which only He can give you.’ I think that’s the great mission of World Youth Day: present Christ, show young people what the world’s fleeting happiness can never offer.”

World Youth Day is grateful for the generous prayer and selfless life of so many people who, from a hidden corner of the world, sustain the preparation of each WYD.

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