Italy's Gioventu Cristiana (Christian Youth) association is organizing a national demonstration in major cities across the country "to say 'enough' to the intolerance against Benedict XVI." The group is making use of social networks to spread the word and provide a voice.
Young people from every corner of Italy are being called to stage "sit-ins" in support of the Pope in the nation's biggest city squares, including those of Rome, Milan, Turin, Venice and Naples.
Planned for Sunday, April 18, the demonstration aims to make a display of the "closeness" of youth to the Holy Father.
"Although we're not an ecclesial movement but a simple association," said national director Pietro Serra, "we find it opportune to make our voice of youth and, moreso, (our voice) as lay faithful heard.
"For this, coinciding with the fifth anniversary of the (Pope's) election to the pontifical throne, we have decided to promote a series of initiatives on a national scale so that 'enough' might be said once and for all to the rampant 'Popaphobia,'" added Serra.
Two days after sending out thousands of emails inviting participation, developing a new branch of their website for the cause and launching an invitation on Facebook, the sit-in effort is quickly nearing 1,000 planned participants.