Rome, Italy, Aug 5, 2010 / 03:09 am
The pilgrimage that brought altar boys and girls to Rome en masse this week concluded on a high note at Wednesday's general audience. Bringing tens of thousands of young people together in what appeared to be a small scale World Youth Day, the event showed the true colors of Church and the communion of its youth.
The final tally of participants included well over 50,000 young people from at least 17 European countries, who took over St. Peter's Square during Wednesday's general audience with the Pope. The altar servers were seen dancing, singing and generally enjoying the culminating event of their pilgrimage to Rome, organized by the Coetus Internationalis Ministrantium (CIM).
Youth from each country represented were distinguishable by the color of their pilgrims' scarves. By far, the dominant shade seen in the square and all over the city in the last three days was the German participants' vanilla-colored scarves, one of which CIM president Bishop Martin Gächter offered to Pope Benedict XVI during the audience.
Austrian pilgrims with their yellow scarves were the second-most visible, while the 18 Lithuanians in pink and the six Albanians wearing blue were a much rarer sight among the over 80,000 total audience attendees.