.- The U.S. bishops have launched a Facebook app and a website to serve as a “virtual pilgrimage” to World Youth Day 2011 for those who are staying home.
Users can create an avatar and use it to participate in the “pilgrimage” coinciding with the August 16-21 worldwide youth gathering. A Google map also provides visuals of pilgrims’ worldwide origins and shows them on a detailed map of Madrid.
A Facebook fan page for the “Virtual World Youth Day” lets users create their avatar, view live video from Madrid, follow key twitter feeds and blogs and upload photos and videos.
Those in Madrid can contribute to the page from the event. U.S. bishops’ staff in Madrid will post content from there as well. A team of young adults and young adult leaders attending the event will post to the page and blog on behalf of the U.S. bishops’ conference’s Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church.
About 900 people have already created avatars and joined the pilgrimage.
The non-Facebook website is at http://www.virtualworldyouthday.org while the Facebook fan page is at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Virtual-World-Youth-Day/155152027881863.