August 16-17, 2000
volume 11, no. 142

NEWS for Wednesday-Thursday, August 16-17, 2000
300 Restaurants, 20 Million Liters of Water, and 14,000 Bathrooms

VATICAN CITY, August 14 (

    Today, the average age of pedestrians in Rome descended rapidly. Barracks, parishes, and camp sites in the Eternal City have filled with young people carrying backpacks and sleeping bags. 272 public schools of the City of Rome have been converted into giant dormitories.

    World Youth Day, which will be held from August 15-20, will enter the record books for several reasons; however, the number of participants is still indefinite. It is worth noting that during the last World Youth Day held in Paris, the number of participants was double that predicted.

    Following are some impressive organizational data for the World Day, which begins tomorrow.


    According to forecasts by the Roman Jubilee Agency, 800,000 youths will arrive in 15,000 buses; 100,000 in 70 special trains; 100,000 by air; 1,000 by ship; and 200,000 by car. It is estimated that 100,000 Roman residents will participate in the final meeting with the Pope in Tor Vergata.


    From the outskirts of Rome to the heart of the city there are welcome centers manned by 25,000 volunteers, where youths can find out about their accommodations, collect an information packet on the World Youth Day, and obtain practical information.


    Centers for the distribution of meals, prepared by the Sodexho catering company, have been established in Roman squares and parking lots. It is the largest service of meal distribution in history, and is made possible thanks to the co-operation of some 1,600 Sodexho employees and 5,000 pilgrims. Therefore, beginning today, and until August 20, young pilgrims will be able to have hot breakfasts, lunches, and dinners by showing the ticket they will be given by the organizers. Lunch is served between 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m., and dinner between 7:30 p.m. and 11 p.m.


    The most difficult undertaking has been the preparation of the Tor Vergata field, where the meetings with the Pope will take place on August 19 and 20, and where between 1.2 to 1.5 million participants are expected. The facilities for this event speak for themselves: 51 pilgrim aid centers; 81 lighting towers; 14,000 chemical toilets (over 100 for the handicapped); 20 million liters of bottled water to be distributed in pilgrim aid centers; 18 miles of new roads accessing the Tor Vergata field; 3,000 water fountains; 14 giant video screens; 9 radio bridges to activate the mobile phone network; 40 miles of barriers; 2,200 trash cans; and 4,156 signs and information signals.


    Five hospitals are prepared to care for pilgrims with fainting spells, and accidents during the August 19-20 meeting. Tor Vergata itself will have 12 first aid centers; 12 health tents and one tent-hospital. There will be 30 ambulances, 5 medical scooters, and 2 helicopter-ambulances available. Medical care will be covered by 36 health teams including 197 doctors, 305 nurses, and 374 health agents.


    Papal meetings can be followed live on Internet with Vatican Radio at The official web page for World Youth Day is in English, Spanish, Italian, and French. ZE00081411

      We encourage you to check the Catholic World News site at the CWN home page and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and the Dossiers, features and Daily Dispatches from ZENIT International News Agency CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC, but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

Return to Front Page of Current Issue