Thursday, June 12, 2008

Facebook for Catholics

Many people may be aware of the popular networking internet page called FACEBOOK. For years, this site has offered young and older internet gurus the possibility to interact with their friends in cyberspace. Now there's another option open to Catholics who want to network with friends in a specifically Catholic environment.

George Cardinal Pell, the Archbishop of Sydney launched today. This site which is part of the social networking that has been developed as part of the preparation for next month's World Youth Day celebrations promises to bring yet another new level of communication to life for those who will attend the WYD celebrations, as well as those who cannot physically be present, but who want to interact with other young people who are asking questions about faith, and looking for ways to find people of faith to chat with or to socialize with.

Cardinal Pell himself has reportedly joined this online community, although he professes his lack of knowledge about the online world, and he has invited 100 other young people to join him as the earliest members of this cyberspace community.

The organizing committee for the 2008 WYD gathering have introduced a number of innovations including an online registration system which allows the organizing team to maintain contact with group leaders as well as individual participants through email. Considering the fact that they are expecting approximately 250,000 participants, this is a mammoth undertaking, but so far it seems to be meeting with great success. Group leaders receive periodic updates providing information about tourism in Australia as well as reminders to make sure that their group members are properly prepared for the one-week experience which will take place in just less than 35 days' time.

The countdown is on. By now final arrangements are well underway for those who will soon be visiting down under, and the WYD gang appear to be well on their way to preparing the terrain for what promises to be one of Australia's largest gatherings ever. Throughout the history of the World Youth Days, the international gatherings have had a positive effect on stimulating interest and growth among the local Catholic populations. If the preparations which have taken place so far are any indication of the extent to which the Aussies will go to make sure that foreign visitors encounter Christ during their stay, this WYD promises to be a special encounter not only for the WYD participants, but for the local population as well.

33 days to go.

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