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World Youth Day 2011: Catholics From Around The World Gather In Madrid (PHOTOS)

First Posted: 08/17/11 01:12 PM ET   Updated: 10/17/11 06:12 AM ET

This week hundreds of thousands of young Catholics from countries around the world are descending on Madrid, Spain to celebrate the Catholic Church's World Youth Day with Pope Benedict XVI.

Initiated by the late Pope John Paul II, World Youth Day is celebrated every three years in different cities around the globe. The previous event in 2008 was held in Sydney, Australia and was attended by an estimated 400,000 Catholic pilgrims. This year's festivities last through Sunday, when Pope Benedict will preside over the closing Mass. To follow along with events, read HuffPost blogger Michael Rossman, SJ, who is in attendance in Madrid.

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Pope Benedict XVI waves to pilgrims gathered in the courtyard of his summer residence of Castelgandolfo, Italy before his arrival in Spain for the World Youth Day audience where hundreds of thousands are expected to attend.
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