Youth Day Registrations at 120,000 and Counting
U.S. Sending Highest Numbers So Far
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SYDNEY, Australia, JUNE 27, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Almost 2,000 groups representing more than 120,000 people have registered to attend next year's World Youth Day.
Although still more than a year away, overseas group registrations for World Youth Day have been strong, suggesting the target of 125,000 international pilgrims may be exceeded, organizers say.
"Almost 100,000 international pilgrims are expected at this point in time," said chief operating officer, Danny Casey.
The top countries sending pilgrims to date are the United States with 30,400; Australia with 22,900; Italy with 15,400 and Germany with 8,000.
Large numbers are also registered from New Zealand, France, Spain, India, Venezuela, Fiji, Nigeria and Mexico.
"We expect the numbers of Australian pilgrims to grow much stronger as we get closer to the event," Casey explained.
The event will be held July 15-20, 2008, and will be Benedict XVI's first visit to Australia.
The theme song for World Youth Day 2008, "Receive the Power" written by singer/songwriter Guy Sebastian, will be launched Sunday, July 1, to coincide with the arrival to Australia of the World Youth Day Cross and Icon of Our Lady.
The World Youth Day cross and icon are currently traveling through New Zealand on an 18-day pilgrimage.
On June 19, the cross and icon were greeted in Wellington, New Zealand, by Prime Minister Helen Clark, members of parliament, a large number of students and people of all ages, in an event called "a joyful witness of youthful commitment and enthusiasm."
Individual registration will be available by the end of next month.