NEWS for Wednesday-Thursday, August 16-17, 2000
WORLD YOUTH DAY ENTERS RECORD BOOKS
300 Restaurants, 20 Million Liters of Water, and 14,000 Bathrooms
VATICAN CITY, August 14 (ZENIT.org)
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
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 www.radiovaticana.org. The official web page for World Youth
Day is www.gmg2000.it in English, Spanish, Italian, and
We encourage you to check the Catholic World News site at the
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