World Youth Day - News



20,000 Cross Holy Door Every Two Hours

VATICAN CITY, AUGUST 16 ( The Vatican Press Office published an official statement expressing Pope John Paul II's "complete joy" following the opening of World Youth Day, which took place Tuesday afternoon and evening. Yesterday’s four hour meeting turned into one continuous break with protocol on the part of the Bishop of Rome as he joked several times with the thousands of youth gathered in the two largest Squares in Rome, St. John Lateran’s and St. Peter’s in the Vatican.

The Vatican statement confirms that the Holy Father's satisfaction is due to "the climate of celebration and enthusiasm expressed by more than 700,000 youth who attended the opening of their Jubilee, accepting with the freshness and spontaneity proper to their age, the Holy Father's invitation to have a profound friendship with Christ and to witness to their own faith."

In addition, Fr. Ciro Benedettini, the Assistant Director of the Vatican Press Office, stated that the young people are giving the Pope an even greater satisfaction as 20,000 youth began crossing the Holy Door every 2 hours at 7 a.m. today. The symbol of crossing the Holy Door is the most important moment of the Jubilee as it represents a desire to convert; to leave old things behind and begin a new life, which is proper to the Holy Year. Until this coming Friday, the Door of St. Peter's Basilica will be open from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m. to allow extra time all the pilgrims gathered for World Youth Day. Their determination proves to the Holy Father that they have not come to Rome to tour but to live an experience of faith. The various language groups are organized so that each one has one day set aside to this pilgrimage, while the other mornings are dedicated to catechesis.

According to the Italian Jubilee Agency, during the first 24 hours of World Youth Day, 30% more participants arrived than expected. The majority of the 2,741 places of lodging (schools. parishes, barracks) are full. Reception committees are looking for additional places to accommodate those arriving without previous registration.



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