US leads Australia in WYD registrations
World Youth Day registrations from the US are outpacing those from Australia, organisers say, with 27,000 Americans on the books compared to 20,000 Australians in a total of more than 80,000 people who have put their names down for the Sydney event.
Australian registrations from 240 groups for World Youth Day in Sydney from 15-20 July 2008 are coming a close second to the United States, which leads the charge with nearly 27,000 pilgrims from over 400 groups, according to a WYD media release.
France, Germany and Venezuela round out the top five to date.
"We are delighted with the current numbers," said Danny Casey, WYD Chief Operating Officer.
"Although individual registrations and payments will not be accepted until July, these figures show momentum is building internationally and domestically," Mr Casey said.
"With indications of 80,000 pilgrims in just 10 weeks, we are confident of reaching our estimate of 200,000 formal registrations."
Meanwhile, Matangitonga reports that the World Youth Day cross and icon of Mary will be carried throughout Tongatapu later this month.
Fr Niukasolo Niukapu, the Youth Chaplain of the Catholic Diocese of Tonga, said that the 3.8 metres high cross, and the Icon of Mary will arrive in Tonga on 22 May and they will be "welcomed at Catholic Cathedral at Ma'ufanga with a Tonga traditional ceremony.
"The cross as well as the icon will be carried by catholic youth students on foot throughout Nuku'alofa, then they will move in procession to the western, central and eastern districts.
"On the way they will stop at 52 stations for prayers and meditations."
Fr Niukalasolo said that the cross is currently in Tahiti before coming to Tonga.
After Tonga the cross will visit Fiji, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, then New Zealand before concluding its pilgrimage in Australia on 15 July for the start World Youth Day celebration, which will be attended by Pope Benedict XVI and about 500,000 pilgrims.
Tongan Catholics to welcome World Youth Day Cross and Icon (Matangitonga, 14/5/07)
Going strong - over 80,000 pilgrims on their way to World Youth Day (WYD Media Release, 14/5/07)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
World Youth Day 2008
Aussie idol to sing WYD theme song (CathNews, 14/5/07)
Give young people WYD opportunities, nuncio says (CathNews, 11/5/07)
Sydney airport can't handle all WYD visitors, Pell says (CathNews, 2/5/07)
Thousands already on way to WYD (CathNews, 30/4/07)
Trainers seek $12 million compo over Benedict's WYD visit (CathNews, 23/4/07)
Telstra chief signs on for WYD (CathNews, 20/4/07)
Tsunami town welcomes WYD cross (CathNews, 19/4/07)
WYD Cross to visit tsunami-hit Gizo (CathNews, 5/4/07)
WYD Cross at N Korea border (CathNews, 1/3/07)
Race industry fears over WYD "chaos" (CathNews, 19/3/07)
Canberra parish launches live-in WYD community (CathNews, 6/3/07)
Free tourist visas for WYD participants (CathNews, 5/3/07)
500,000 crosses for WYD (CathNews, 2/3/07)
15 May 2007