|Vatican||PREPARATIONS COMPLETE FOR WORLD YOUTH DAY|
As Rome braced for the arrival of 1.2 million young people expected to participate in this week's Worth Youth Day celebration, the Vatican gave the media a final rundown on preparations for the events.|
At a press conference on Friday Cardinal James Francis Stafford, the president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, and Cardinal Camillo Ruini, some 25,000 volunteers are already at their stations, ready to greet the arrivals, many of whom are expected today.
On Saturday, the volunteers were officially greeted in St. Peter's Square, where Cardinal Ruini celebrated Mass for them. Another group of volunteers were received by the Pope at his summer residence outside Rome.
Msgr. Cesare Nosiglia, the president of the Italian committee for World Youth day, told reporters that he expects 500,000 young people to arrive by tomorrow, and another 700,000 later in the week, so that the crowd will swell to 1.2 million for the climax of celebrations next weekend. At least 160 countries are sending representatives to World Youth Day. Cardinal Stafford said that aside from Italy, the countries sending the largest delegations will be France (with 60,000 pilgrims), Poland (40,000), Spain (30,000), and the United States (30,000).