Pope to text message World Youth Day pilgrims

Sydney, Australia, May 8, 2008 / 05:08 am (CNA) .- This July, Pope Benedict XVI will text message thousands of Catholic pilgrims at World Youth Day, sending messages of hope and inspiration directly to young people through the latest technological medium.

World Youth Day 2008 (WYD08) recently announced that its official telecommunications partner, Telstra, will provide daily “inspirational” text messages from Pope Benedict, commemorative WYD08 photo messaging, music downloads and hosting for the World Youth Day social networking site XT3.com.

“We wanted to make WYD08 a unique experience by using new ways to connect with today's tech-savvy youth,” said Bishop Anthony Fisher in a Wednesday statement.

Telstra has also provided telecommunications services for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games and the 2003 Rugby World Cup.

The company will also provide digital prayer walls at event sites, regional webcasting for catechetical events, interactive centers with wireless internet access, and green screen studios.

World Youth Day 2008 will take place in and around Sydney from July 15 through July 20.  At least 225,000 pilgrims are expected to attend.