Time’s up and selection has begun

Madrid, ecember 2, 2010- During the week of World Youth Day, Madrid will not only be hosting the events with the Pope, but also the cultural activities that show – through the universal language of beauty – faith expressed through culture. During these months, the Department of Culture has received over 500 proposals from 48 countries across the world offering to form part of the cultural line-up for WYD. This past November 20 was the deadline for submitting their ideas and now the time has come to make a selection.

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There have been a wide variety of artistic forms presented, including musicals, photograph exhibits, plays, films…even dances from every corner of the globe (Africa, India, South and Central America, etc.). “It is amazing to see how behind each project there is an entire group of people involved. There are many young people getting ready for WYD this way,” says Isaure (seen in the photo), a young woman from France who is working in the Department for Culture.

The figure and message of Benedict XVI’s predecessor is the overriding theme in most of the projects presented: e.g. Karol Wojtyla as a poet and writer, or his message about sexuality and affectivity, etc. There have also been proposals for presentations on the activity of the Church in countries where she is persecuted, or in areas experiencing economic hardship or in situations of war.

The Artistic Wealth of Spain

Following Benedict XVI’s recent visit to Spain, the country’s artistic treasures (e.g. the Cathedral of Santiago and the Basilica of “Sagrada Familia”) have emerged onto the world stage. Not surprisingly, a high percentage of cultural projects have been submitted from the host country.
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Beauty and faith are not mutually exclusive, as Antonio Gaudí, architect of “Sagrada Familia”, demonstrated in his life and work. In the recent consecration of the Basilica, Benedict XVI referred to him as “a creative architect and a practicing Christian,” to which he added: “Beauty is one of mankind’s greatest needs; it is the root from which the branches of our peace and the fruits of our hope come forth.”

Now comes the hardest part: “reviewing each of the proposals one by one, and seeing which of them are feasible and appropriate in light of the World Youth Day spirit,” said Carla Diaz de Rivera, Technical Director of the Department of Culture. The proposals are judged on: the universality of the message, the artistic quality, modern relevance, and the technical, organizational, and financial possibilities. In addition, an effort will be made so that a variety of themes and geographical places are represented in the Festival.

Everything is focused on the sole purpose of showing young people the faith through the universal language of beauty and culture. In short, this means making it obvious that Christianity cannot be reduced to barren moralism or a heavy yoke of “do’s” and “don’ts”. Instead, they should discover that the Gospel opens up a thrilling horizon that is worth risking their lives for.

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