OCEANIA/AUSTRALIA - WYD, the great international pilgrimage, approaches - an extraordinary experience of communion with God and with the Church

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Sydney (Agenzia Fides) - Last Palm Sunday, youth from all the diocese of the world have made efforts to promote the international event of WYD in Sydney among their peers, as the dates grow closer and closer. Organizers of the event are placing the finishing touches on the welcome centers, the ceremonies, and everything needed in order to help make the pilgrimage of youth from all over the world, an unforgettable experience.
According to Danny Casey, WYD08 Chief Operating Officer, there is a “high demand from young Catholics around the world to come to Australia for World Youth Day.” There had been an estimated 125,000 overseas pilgrims expected in Sydney July 15-20.
“We have received more than 168,000 online registrations of interest from overseas,” Casey said, “but we always anticipated that a proportion of those were unlikely to follow through with an actual registration because of a range of factors including distance and cost.”
“The most recent advice from the US Catholic Bishops Conference and other Catholic groups suggests we should expect more than 21,000 pilgrims from the United States,” Casey noted. Organizers are in continuous contact with the national Bishops’ Conferences around the world, in order to update the number of participants.
They are also continuing the Pilgrim Partnership Support Program, in which youth from Australian dioceses can sponsor other youth pilgrims from poorer areas to go to WYD.
World Youth Day will mark the first visit to Australia by his Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. The Catholic Australian youth are making a great evangelization effort, so that as many youth as possible can experience the incredible moment of communion with God and with the Church that World Youth Day offers. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 27/3/2008; righe 25, parole 280)