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Terrorism fear causes youth to re-think Toronto Youth Day

Organisers of July's World Youth Day celebration in Toronto have scaled back their estimates of numbers expected to attend, from 350,000 to around 350,000.

They blame the shortfall on continuing fear of air travel following the 11 September terrorist attacks in the United States.

Nevertheless, 350,000 young people from 150 countries is ``already a great success,'' said Fr Tom Rosica, World Youth Day executive director.

The 17th World Youth Day will take place in Toronto in the second half of July ,and will culminate in an evening vigil with Pope John Paul II, followed by a papal Mass open to the public on 28 July.

Officials expect 60,000 locals ages 16-35 to register for youth day. Almost 200,000 young people from beyond Canada have registered.

The mornings of 24 and 25 July will include sessions led by bishops from around the world. Opportunities for prayer, sharing and reflection, as well as opportunities to receive penance and Holy Eucharist, will be part of the days. Most afternoons will be filled with entertainment plus spiritual and social activities.

In addition to musical performances, World Youth Day will also include a film festival. The festival will also present the world premiere of a documentary about Mother Teresa.

World Youth Day (Australian site)
World Youth Day (international site)

The Mercury News

27 May 2002