Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Pilgrim Youth to Eat 3.5 Million Meals

Numbers Give Snapshot of Sydney Event

SYDNEY, Australia, JULY 16, 2008 ( Some 225,000 youth are participating in World Youth Day, which began Tuesday and will end Sunday with a closing Mass that could gather a half million people.

The organizers report that 125,000 of the young pilgrims are from countries other than Australia; another 100,000 are from the host nation. The event is the biggest and most multinational ever held on Australian soil, even more so than the 2000 Olympics.

The United States is the foreign country that sent the most pilgrims, with 15,000.

Youth Day organizers have provided these statistics as well:

An estimated 8,000 volunteers are assisting with the activities. Some 2,000 priests and 500 bishops and cardinals are present; 500 chasubles were made for the prelates and a stole for each of the priests.

One million hosts for Holy Communion were made and 120 bottles of wine will be used for the opening and closing Masses.

Pilgrims will eat 3.5 million meals and 232,000 candles will be used during the event. About 100,000 young people are sleeping in 400 schools and parishes and 10,000 in Sydney Olympic Park.

About 100 actors are involved with the Stations of the Cross performance.

Australia has approximately 5.12 million Catholics in 1,363 parishes. This is approximately 26% of the population. It has 28 territorial dioceses, four dioceses of Eastern Catholic Churches and one military diocese.

The greater Sydney region, with its four dioceses, has about 1.5 million Catholics. The Archdiocese of Sydney has almost 600,000 of those in some 141 parishes with 480 priests.

There have been three previous papal visits to Australia. In 1970, Pope Paul VI went; in 1986, Pope John Paul II; and in 1995, the Polish Pontiff went again, beatifying Mary MacKillop.

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