Sunday, April 20, 2008

Youth Doesn't Mean Dead, Does It?

Have you heard of World Youth Day? Me neither. World Youth Day (the WYD) is the largest youth event in the world. Thus it's probably purely coincidental and extremely convenient that it is named World Youth Day. That's one of the very few aspects of this event that makes sense. The rest? Eh. Not so much all the time.

If I'm holding WYD, let's say in my backyard, I'm going to pick a day on which the youth of the world can gather as that is what the name implies. That's not how it works. This year, World Youth DAY will be in Sydney, Australia from July 15th to July 20th. That's SIX days. Not ONE. Six. So it's really World Youth Week, but they went with 'Day' instead. I don't know why and no one is talking.

So at the weeklong World Youth Day, the basic premise is that the event is an invitation from the Pope to all the youth of the world to celebrate their faith around a particular theme. Now, why "celebrating faith" isn't a "theme" by itself is, once again, unknown to me and, once again, no one is talking. The "theme" for 2008 is "'You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses.' Acts 1:8" What? Power? What kind? X-ray vision? The ability to bend steel? Super speed? Communicate with animals? Huh. This might be a bit more interesting than I had first thought.

Apparently, if you attend WYD, you are considered to be a 'pilgrim'. OK. I guess. This year, the WYD is expecting 225,000 registered pilgrims, of which, 125,000 are international pilgrims. There will be about 100,000 Australian pilgrims, with 40,000 of those being Sydney pilgrims. The pilgrims will eat about 3.5 million meals and over 100,000 pilgrims will sleep in 700 schools and parishes, which is approximately 142 ppp (pilgrims per parish). And at the Final Mass, it is expected that up to 500,000 pilgrims will attend.

OK, I don't know why they're calling this WYD instead of ALFPD (A Lot of (Fine) Pilgrims Day). Holy crap. (I'm envisioning a sea of black hats, white bibs and big, shiny buckles.) They didn't have that many pilgrims OR the Pope at the first Thanksgiving and that was a pretty big deal! But WYD gets Pope Benedict XVI (yes, the inventor of the tasty breakfast dish, Eggs Benedict, that is correct.). Below is a picture of Pope Benedict XVI. He is apparently a distant relative of the Quaker Oats guy. Quaker Oats logo Pope Benedict

But here's where it starts to get a little weird. Apparently, this year, "the body of an inspirational Catholic who died in 1925" will be flown in for WYD. Um, I'm not thinking WYD so much as I am WTF at this point. Huh?

Pier Giorgio FrassatiPier Giorgio Frassati was 24 when he died from polio. Somehow, he "has become a role model for young Catholics because of his fervent faith, teamed with good looks, a robust physique and sunny nature. " Wait. I thought the Pope was the role model. And this guy is dead and has been for 83 years?! How is HE a role model? To the left is a picture of Pier. (He does appear strapping, now, doesn't he?)

Pier Giorgio FrassatiI find it odd (at the very least) that some Italian guy who was 24 when he died 83 years ago is the "role model" for "World Youth Day". 107 doesn't seem to exemplify the term "youth". Neither does "dead" for that matter. And he might have had "good looks and a robust physique" back in the 1920s, but I can hardly believe that is the case today. Yes, the pictures shown here do depict a fine looking man, but just remember, those pictures were taken over 83 years ago when he was alive! And as far as "sunny nature", um, that guy hasn't seen the sun in quite some time! Why is this a good idea? What am I missing?

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was one of the pilgrims you talked about in your article. It was an incredible pilgrimage! Our groug traveled from the US to Sydney for the largest youth gathering event in history! It was an amazing experience! I was able to talk to youth my age from Poland, Fiji, Spain, Sweeden, and South Africa who were on fire with their faith! I can tell you from personal experience that the World Youth Day in Sydney was the best way I spent my summer. This event is so benefical for our youth. You should come join us for WYD in Madrid 2011! Peace