March 28, 2011

With more than one million Catholic youths expected to converge on Madrid for World Youth Day in August, organizers are busy making final preparations.

One task is the choice of new songs for the crowds to sing in addition to the much-criticized official hymn.

"The hymn is my nightmare," Yago de la Cierva, executive director of WYD 2011, told reporters at the Vatican March 15.

He was responding to a Spanish journalist, who asked how they could have chosen what she described as an awful song for the theme hymn.

De la Cierva said, "It's very beautiful for the type of music it is, but maybe we made a mistake" in choosing the genre.

Once it became clear that the song was not popular, especially in Spain, WYD launched an international contest for other song suggestions, he said.

"The hymn was written to help people pray before the Eucharist. Maybe that's not what people wanted — well, obviously, that's not what people wanted," he said.

World Youth Day will be celebrated in Madrid Aug. 16-21.