WYD registrations near 200,000 mark

Sydney, Australia, Jun 23, 2008 / 08:11 pm (CNA) .- Registrations for World Youth Day 2008 (WYD08) are nearing 200,000, organizers for the July event have announced.

“Our estimations for the event have always been based on 125,000 international and 100,000 domestic registered pilgrims,” stated WYD08 Chief Operating Officer Danny Casey.

Casey said that international registrants had registered early, but registrations from Australians are presently rising.

“We always knew that the Aussies would come in late, but we are seeing growth in this segment as well.

“It’s great to see so many locals excited about this event,” Casey said.

Casey said he was surprised that a New South Wales government spokeswoman had said only 130,000 people had registered from the event. Casey suggested the spokeswoman only have been referring to the number of finalized registrations.

According to Casey, 132,671 pilgrims have completed their registrations. Another 64,181 have made a commitment to attend and are partly through their registration, indicating nearly 197,000 prospective attendees.

Casey said he expected the WYD08 estimate of 225,000 attendees to be met or exceeded.

“With almost 40 extra flights coming into Sydney airport just for the event, there is no doubt this city will be awash with hundreds of thousands of joyous young people – and let’s not forget one very important Head of State!” Casey stated.

World Youth Day will take place from July 15 to 20. Over 500,000 people are expected to attend the final Mass near Sydney, which is to be celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI.