World Youth Day - News



They Will Be Invited for Breakfast

CASTEL GANDOLFO, AUGUST 7 ( Sunday's Angelus message, John Paul II announced that he too will welcome several young pilgrims to his summer residence when they arrive for World Youth Day (August 15-20).

"Many youth are already travelling to Rome. Families, parishes, institutes, and schools have mobilized to welcome them and, here in Castel Gandolfo, I will also have the joy of receiving a few," the Pope said.

When asked who the youth will be, Fr. Mauro Parmeggiani of the organizing committee stated, "We still don't know who will have the good fortune. They have not yet been identified." However, Fr. Parmeggiani disclosed the Pope's wishes -- there will be 15 guests, from around the world: 3 from Europe, 3 from the Americas, 3 from Africa, 3 from Asia, and 3 from Oceania.

"We are choosing them from the youth who have registered. On one of the days they will be invited to breakfast with the Pope. However, they will have to observe the commitments and schedules of all other World Youth Day participants," explained Fr. Domenico Sigalini, who is responsible for compiling the list of young papal guests.

As the building where the Pope resides is full of his collaborators, the young guests will stay in rooms of the Villa Barberini, which is part of the Pontifical Villas. Unlike other young pilgrims in the Eternal City, the papal guests will not be resting on the floor in sleeping bags, but will enjoy the luxury of a bed, bathroom, shower, etc.

The organizers are convinced that the number of youths attending the World Youth Day will be greater than in Paris in August of 1997, when the closing Mass was attended by 1.2 million people.  There might well be a total of 1.5 million this year in the Tor Vergara field outside Rome. 500,000 will be housed in public buildings, such as schools and gymnasiums, 150,000 in Church buildings (parishes, houses of religious congregations, etc.), 45,000 in private accommodations such as hotels and hostels, 15,000 in camping tents, 11,000 in university facilities, and about 30,000 in family homes.

The Holy Father gives much importance to the World Youth Day. Yesterday, after announcing that he will host several youths, John Paul II said: "Let us pray that this important event at the heart of the Jubilee will be a great opportunity for all youth throughout the world to renew their own generous adhesion to Christ."


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