A virtual pilgrimage to World Youth Day

2011-08-16 Vatican Radio

Next Thursday Pope Benedict will be arriving in Madrid to attend the Church's World Youth Day (WYD) celebrations that are expected to attract more than a million young people. Given its venue in Europe, organisers say it's no surprise that after Spaniards, Italians, Germans and French top the list of those registered to attend the week-long event, with smaller numbers of Americans signed up. But thanks to the U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference (USCCB) even those young people who can't travel to Madrid will be able to take part. That's because the USCCB has developed a social media tool that will allow people for the first time ever to make a virtual pilgrimage to WYD. Catherine Panzica of the USCCB’s office for social media reveals that the USCCB has created a Facebook application and a website for non-Facebook users (http://www.virtualworldyouthday.org/ ) where individuals can create an avatar and use it to participate in the virtual pilgrimage. She says “the application can be added to any Facebook fan page. A Google map provides visuals of where pilgrims are coming from throughout the world and another shows the pilgrims on a detailed map of Madrid. Like you were really there”. Additionally, USCCB has created a Facebook fan page: (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Virtual-World-Youth-Day/155152027881863) where virtual pilgrims can go to create their avatar, view live video feed from Madrid, follow key twitter feeds and blogs and upload photos and videos. Those in Madrid also can contribute to the page from the event. USCCB staff present at the event will post content from Madrid. The page will also feature posts from a team of young adults and young adult leaders who will attend WYD and blog on behalf of the USCCB Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church. Listen to her full interview with Emer McCarthy: 00:08:24:48