Bishop Donal Mc Keown departs for 38th World Youth Day in Rio

15 Jul 2013

Bishop Donal Mc Keown departs for 38th World Youth Day in Rio

Bishop Donal McKeown, Auxiliary Bishop of Down and Connor departs today from Ireland for World Youth Day (WYD Rio2013) from 23-28 July in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the world’s largest Catholic country. Over two million people are expected to attend WYD Rio2013, the theme of which is: “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28:19). Bishop McKeown, who is Chair of the Bishops’ National Committee of Diocesan Youth Directors, will join 170 pilgrims from Ireland who are travelling to WYD in the coming days, including Archbishop Diarmuid Martin Archbishop of Dublin, and Bishop Denis Brennan, Bishop of Ferns.

Speaking from Dublin airport Bishop Donal McKeown said: “Rio promises to be a very exciting World Youth Day. It is providential that a Latin American country will welcome the first Pope from their continent. It also comes at a time when Brazil is facing into the reality of economic and social inequalities. For the Irish pilgrims it will be a chance to experience some of the huge work that Irish missionaries have done and continue to do and it provides the unique WYD opportunity for the idealistic young of our world to gather around Pope Francis and to celebrate the Gospel message of hope in the midst of our world.”

The Irish pilgrimage will represent dioceses across Ireland including the Archdiocese of Armagh, Archdiocese of Dublin, Diocese of Ferns, Diocese of Clogher, and the aid agency Trócaire. During WYD Rio2013 pilgrims will attend churches, halls, gymnasiums and auditoriums which have been reserved for catechesis. Over the week 273 liturgical events will be held in ten different regions in Rio de Janeiro and neighbouring dioceses.

To coincide with WYD Rio2013 dioceses in Ireland are preparing special gatherings and events.

Rio in Dublin

In Dublin’s Capuchin Friary, a special two-day event Rio in Dublin is taking place to coincide with the events in Rio de Janeiro. Rio in Dublin is especially aimed at young people who have either attended a World Youth Day or would like to savour some of the atmosphere of what takes place at World Youth Day.

Rio in Dublin will take place on the weekend of 27 and 28 July in Church Street Friary, Dublin 7.  Registration is now open and demand is already high. Parishes around the country with young people wishing to take part should e-mail [email protected] as soon as possible.

The exciting programme includes:

  • Pilgrim walks to Church Street from seven locations.
  • Young people will be welcomed by members of the local Brazilian young people here in Dublin.
  • Video links to Rio for some of the key ceremonies involving Pope Francis.
  • A programme of catechesis, music, prayer – from late Saturday through to Sunday.
  • There will be an opportunity to participate in a justice programme in advance of Rio in Dublin (hosted by Magis Ireland).

WYD@Home: Brightlights 2013

Some Irish pilgrims are travelling to a Youth Festival in Kent from 26 to 29 July, where 16-25 year olds can experience a flavour of WYD Rio 2013. Brightlights 2013 will take place over the World Youth Day weekend in the beautiful grounds of Aylesford Priory, home to the very welcoming Carmelite community. The weekend festival will have a Rio carnival atmosphere, large screen link up with WYD in Rio, live bands, catechesis, guest speakers, liturgies and more!


Notes to Editors

  • Pope Francis will undertake his first international pilgrimage as Pontiff for WYD Rio2013. The Holy Father will visit the poor and meet with young prisoners while in Rio de Janeiro.
  • World Youth Day was initiated by Blessed Pope John Paul II in 1985 to foster faith and solidarity amongst young people. Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta is the Patron Saint of World Youth Day and since his beatification, Pope John Paul II is its co-patron.
  • See for special features on World Youth Day including video interviews with Bishop Donal McKeown and Hannah Evans from Trócaire.
  • Statistics for the Catholic Church in Brazil

Brazil covers a surface area of 8,514,215 square kilometres and has population of 195,041,000 of whom 164,780,000 (84.48%) are Catholic. The Roman Catholic Church in Brazil comprises forty-four ecclesiastical provinces each headed by an archbishop. The provinces are in turn subdivided into 215 dioceses, 44 archdioceses, and 12 territorial prelatures, each headed by a bishop or an archbishop. These 271 divisions make the largest number of Catholic dioceses in any country with 10,802 parishes, and 37,827 pastoral centres. Currently there are 453 bishops, 20,701 priests, 33,230 religious, and 2,903 permanent deacons. There are also 1,985 lay members of secular Institutes, 144,910 lay missionaries, and 483,104 catechists. Minor seminarians number 2,671 and major seminarians 8,956.

A total of 1,940,299 students attend 6,882 centres of Catholic education ranging from kindergartens to universities. There are also 3,257 centres for special education. There are 5,340 institutions belonging to the Church or run by priests or religious in Brazil including: 369 hospitals, 884 clinics, 22 leper colonies, 718 homes for the elderly or disabled, 1,636 orphanages and nurseries, and 1,711 family counselling and other pro-life centres.

For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long 00353 (0) 86 172 7678 and Brenda Drumm 00353 (0) 87 310 4444