.- Tens of thousands of young pilgrims from Central Europe are expected to converge on the Marian sanctuary of Mariazell for a three-day youth event, Aug. 12-15.
The youth pilgrimage represents a Central European forerunner to the pilgrimage that will take place in Loreto Italy this coming September, in the presence of Pope Benedict XVI.
The theme of the August gathering is “Re-awakening". Youth unemployment and the future of Europe are the main social issues to be discussed. The gathering will include eucharistic celebrations, workshops, and a candlelight procession.
The gathering is designed for religious and non-religious youth. The youth pilgrimage was the idea of the Austrian bishops, who had made an appeal for greater unity among Central European youth in 2004.
The Austrian bishops will be present, in addition to Cardinal George Pell, archbishop of Sydney, and the president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, Archbishop Stanislaw Rylko. Cardinal Pell is hosting World Youth Day in his archdiocese in July 2008.