Benedict XVI Is 1st signed up for '11 Youth Day
Registrations opened today for the 2011 World Youth Day in Madrid, with Benedict XVI being the first participant signed up.
The registration system for the Aug. 16-21, 2011, event was presented at a press conference before the registrations opened.
Auxiliary Bishop César Franco of Madrid, general coordinator of WYD, pointed to the practical need for accurate registrations so as to "treat young people well" and "know how many are coming, how many need accommodation, food or cultural areas to cover their needs."
Though participation is free in the main events of World Youth Day (the inaugural Mass, welcome ceremony, Way of the Cross, Saturday vigil and Sunday Mass), participants are encouraged to register and pay a fee that helps cover WYD costs and brings the benefits of being a registered participant.
Fees for the full package (food, lodging, WYD pack and reserved seating sections at the events) range from €210 ($262) for participants from developed countries to €122 ($152) for participants from poorer countries. An early-registration discount is available.
Participants are also encouraged to make a €10 ($12.50) donation in solidarity with pilgrims facing economic difficulties.
"The Days are for everyone, not just for the rich. Whoever has more economic possibilities should help others: Solidarity is the key of WYD," said Bishop Franco.
Some 600,000 young people from outside Spain have expressed their intention to register: 120,000 Italians, 70,000 French, 50,000 Poles and 25,000 North Americans, according to data from local organizations. If these figures are confirmed, a record participation is expected.
Organizers for Madrid 2011 are hoping to get 40% of participants registered, as opposed to about a 25% registration average for previous WYDs.
The registration system is online and accessible around the clock in five languages. There is also 24-hour phone support in English and Spanish.
The registration program was financed by the Madrid Vivo Foundation, which obtained the support of several Spanish businesses and institutions for this project.
After the event, WYD-Madrid will donate this system to the Vatican so that it can be used in future WYDs.
Registration includes accident insurance, public transport during the WYD week, the backpack -- with shirt, cap, Guide to Madrid, book for the ceremonies and other useful items -- free entrance to cultural activities and priority access, and reserved areas in the principal events.
Courtesy: Zenit News