Belgian youth commit to protect environment at World Youth Day

Brussels, Belgium, Jul 13, 2008 / 03:17 am (CNA) .- During their pilgrimage to Sydney, a group of Belgians planted trees as part of their commitment to the preservation of the environment. Meanwhile the Belgian youth who were unable to attend the international gathering will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the apparitions in Banneux, Belgium.

Before leaving for Australia on July 3, Cardinal Godfried Daneels celebrated Mass for the group in Brussels. 

Since their arrival in Australia, the has group met and prayed with young Australians, and later planted trees to show their dedication to protecting the environment.

For the young Belgians who cannot attend WYD, the Belgian church will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the apparition of the Virgin in Banneux.

The Virgin of the Poor first appeared to Mariette Becco on January 15, 1933 and the apparitions lasted until March 2 of the same year.

At her second apparition, the Blessed Mother led Mariette from her house to a spring, which she told the girl would bring healing to all nations.

Many people, including Mariette's father, were converted to Catholicism upon hearing accounts of the apparition. Five hundred thousand pilgrims visit the site of the apparitions every year and over fifty miraculous cures have been documented at the spring.