Pope Participates in International Meeting of Catholic Action

The Pilgrimage in Numbers

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VATICAN CITY, AUG. 31, 2004 (Zenit.org).- With his apostolic visit to the Marian shrine of Loreto, Italy, John Paul II will participate in the first worldwide meeting of Catholic Action since Vatican Council II.

Paola Bignardi, president of Italian Catholic Action, said on Tuesday to the Vatican press office that they expect 100,000 people for the closing events.

The Holy Father will be accompanied by 177 cardinals and bishops, and 1,450 celebrant priests. The chorus and orchestra total 220 members, while 1,000 volunteers are responsible for the organization.

Among other «curiosities,» Bignardi said that one million bottles of water will be distributed among the participants.

Five thousand families have been invited to Catholic Action’s meeting, which will host 180 events in 105 zones of the Italian region of Marche, which will receive the pilgrims.

The organization will furnish 250,000 backpacks filled with materials and food, advertise with 16,000 posters and publish 700,000 copies of a special edition of the magazine «Loreto.»

Over 2,000 buses and 15 trains will take 70,000 people to Loreto. According to tradition, the shrine, near the Italian Adriatic coast, houses the Holy House of the Virgin Mary, transported from Nazareth in 1294.

Catholic Action is present in Italy in 8,000 parishes. Its membership includes 180,000 adults, 80,000 youths and 150,000 children.

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