340,000 and counting sign up for WYD 2011

With less than 100 days before World Youth Day (WYD) 2011 begins, more than 340,000 young people from 170 countries have registered to attend.

Yago de la Cierva, Executive Director of WYD 2011 said the main objective of World Youth Day is for “youth receive a warm welcome in Madrid and spend some unforgettable days in Madrid”.

WYD in Spain will also reflect Spain’s unique cultural and religious style de la Cierva said.

de la Cierva noted the World Youth Day organising committee has moved from its planning phase and is now focussed on on implementing the plans.

Pakistani pilgrims penalised

Meanwhile hundreds of aspiring Pakistaki WYD pilgrims have been left disappointed by a Spanish government’s decision to suspend their visas.

According to the Spanish secretariat-general for World Youth Day, the ban was imposed to avoid an illegal immigrant problem.

“Many people from Pakisan have tried to stay in Europe after past WYD celebrations as illegal immigrants, that’s why the Spanish government has suspended the granting of visas,” he said.

Azhar Sadiq, a Catholic youth leader, said eight members of his group had registered for World Youth Day, paying 17,000 rupees (NZ$250) each.

The Catholic Church is presently negotiating with the Spanish embassy to give visas to “deserving faithful”.

World Youth Day will begin on August 16 and on August 18, Pope Benedict will be welcomed.



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