200,000 Young People Registered for World Youth Day

And Organizers Counting on Even More to Attend

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VATICAN CITY, JULY 12, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Some 200,000 young people have registered so far for the 17th World Youth Day in Toronto. And organizers expect even more to show up.

In a statement issued today by the Vatican Information Service, the committee organizing the event explained that many youths from poor countries, especially in Latin America, are having trouble obtaining visas.

The Pontifical Council for the Laity has published the program of events for World Youth Day, whose theme is «You are the salt of the earth …You are the light of the world.»

World Youth Day will officially open the afternoon of Tuesday, July 23, with a Mass at Exhibition Place presided over by Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic, archbishop of Toronto. The cardinal will welcome young people from around the world.

The welcoming ceremony with the Pope is scheduled for the afternoon of Thursday, July 25, at Exhibition Place. On the mornings of July 24, 25 and 26, in more than 100 churches and civic centers in Toronto, there will be sessions of catechesis for young people in various languages, led by bishops.

On the afternoons of July 24, 25 and 26, young people will be able to visit Coronation Park, christened «Duc in Altum Park» for the occasion. Confessionals will be installed in the park and priests will be available for confession in various languages. One area of the park will be reserved for eucharistic adoration.

(Stoles specially made in Mexico will be used by priests hearing confessions. A Tuesday story incorrectly said the stoles would be used during the papal Mass.)

In Exhibition Place on the afternoons of July 24, 25 and 26, there will be the Youth Festival which will include artistic, cultural and spiritual events. For the first time, there will be the opportunity to participate in social service projects.

On the afternoon of July 26, the Way of the Cross will take place in several areas of Toronto. The main procession will depart from City Hall at 7:30 p.m. and will cross the city center along University Avenue.

The climax of World Youth Day will be the vigil and Mass presided over by John Paul II at Downsview Park on the evening of Saturday, July 27, and the morning of July 28. Young people will walk to Downsview Park after 8 a.m. on Saturday morning from various points of the city. The vigil begins at 8 p.m. and will include prayer, music, testimonies and the Holy Father’s words.

The Pope will celebrate the concluding Mass on Sunday, July 28, at 9:30 a.m.

More than 52,000 young people and 125 bishops will attend from the United States. The U.S. bishops’ Web site for the event is www.nccbuscc.org/laity/youth/wydarchives.htm.

Some 20,000 young Italians will also go to Canada to participate in the event, the Italian bishops’ conference reported.

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