Next July, hundreds of thousands of young people will arrive in Sydney for World Youth Day. What is WYD? Here's the answer from the official website for Sydney 2008:
World Youth Day is the Catholic Church's week of events for youth and with youth. It gathers thousands of young people from around the world to celebrate and learn about the Catholic faith and to build bridges of friendship and hope between continents, peoples and cultures.It was started by JPII in 1986 and happens in Rome or internationally every year (this will be the 10th international event). Although called a 'day', major events will take place in Sydney during the week of 15th-22nd July (just over a year away), culminating in an overnight vigil at Randwick Racecourse with Pope Benedict and concluding mass on the Sunday.
If you haven't heard of it yet, you will soon. This will be huge. Just look at some figures for other gatherings:
Denver 500,000And from the website FAQ:
An estimated 500,000 participants are expected to attend at least one event during the World Youth Day week. We expect Sydney to receive 300,000 visitors during this time, including 125,000 from overseas. A media contingent of 3,000-5,000 is anticipated. At the last international WYD in Cologne in 2005, 1.2 million people attended the Final Mass and 7,000 media personnel covered the event.Already 120,000 have registered for Sydney and there's still a year to go.
I'd love to hear what you think of this event. Has anyone been to one in the past? Do you have any ideas on what to do in response? A suggestion I liked (from my rector, so I'm paid to like it...) is that we should look into the possibility of billetting a few of the visitors.