Thursday, July 17, 2008

World Youth Day

World Youth Day (WYD) has enveloped Sydney this week. When we started to notice the advertisements for this event a few months ago, we wondered what it was. Youth from all over the world traveling to Sydney -- but for what? It turns out, this event is actually World Catholic Youth Day. The Dateline presenter, George Negus, interviewed a South African Cardinal last night on tv and asked why the event was called "World Youth Day" and not "World Catholic Youth Day" -- good question!

We could hear the opening "celebrations" (4 miles away) and got to see the massive fireworks show from our balcony. This opening celebration drew 140,000 participants. That's more people than could fill the University of Michigan stadium! I was prompted to write this post because I saw something noteworthy over the past few days on the tv news coverage of the events. At two different events, I heard and saw the same thing -- groups of US teenage pilgrims (participants in the events are called pilgrims) loudly and arrogantly chanting U-S-A. No other pilgrims, that I could see or hear, were chanting the name of their country.

Update: I did hear Costa Rican pilgrims chanting too


Angela said...

It is called "World Youth Day" because it is open to every young person, regardless of religious belief. It is a chance for the youth of the world to meet with the Holy Father and listen to what he has to say to us.

As for the patriotism, I noticed the USA chants on tv as well, but did you also hear how each group of pilgrims cheered when Pope Benedict addressed them in their native languages this evening? During his opening talk, he spoke in English, Italian, French, German, Spanish, and Portuguese, and much cheering and flag-waving abounded. For Catholics, WYD is an opportunity to bring our different backgrounds with us and share and learn from each other. We are from different countries, speak different languages, hold different customs, yet we are part of the same Church.

Sorry for the lengthy comment! :)

Unknown said...

Sydney is calling in reinforcements for WYD!!