WASHINGTON (May 16, 2002) – The deadline to register and pay all participant fees for World Youth Day is June 15. World Youth Day will take place in Toronto from July 22 through 28.
Registration can be completed on-line at www.wyd2002.org . All U.S. groups, once they have registered and determined their total fee, are asked to send payment to the World Youth Day Office at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington. Information about fees and payment becomes available when a U.S. group enters "billing code 100" during the on-line registration process.
Though not required by law, passports are strongly recommended for U.S. citizens traveling to World Youth Day, according to consular officials in Toronto. Passports will ensure a smoother entry and exit process in Canada, particularly when traveling in a group.
The national director of World Youth Day 2002, Basilian Father Thomas Rosica, recently announced the original estimate of participants had been revised downward from 750,000 to 350,000. Nonetheless, the United States expects to send a large number of young people to Toronto for the event.
"More than 49,000 have registered so far and we receive additional groups every day," said Richard McCord, Executive Director of the U.S. Bishops' Secretariat for Family, Laity, Women and Youth. "Already we have more than doubled the number who came to World Youth Day in Rome in 2000," he added. "We're very pleased with the response, especially in light of the uncertainty on the world scene. Perhaps because there is such turmoil in the world, people are eager to join such a pilgrimage to express their faith." More than 100 U.S. bishops will join groups from their dioceses. Groups range in size from 2 to 934. So far the largest group registered comes from the Diocese of Rochester (NY). Participants hail from all 50 states and from 186 of the 194 U.S. dioceses.
Worldwide registration is currently almost 200,000. Groups will journey from 165 countries, including Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Rwanda. Many young people from poor and war-torn countries are being helped to attend by a "solidarity fee" added to each registration.
"U.S. participants exhibit the variety that is characteristic of the Catholic Church in our country," said Barbara Anderson, Coordinator for Youth and Young Adults at the USCCB. "For example, thirty-five dioceses so far report a total of 2,357 Hispanic/Latino youth coming to World Youth Day. Special efforts are also underway to recruit African American participants.
A special fee of $10 added to each U.S. registration has helped young people in more than sixty poor U.S. dioceses to make the trip to Toronto," she said.
The U.S. Bishops website for World Youth Day is www.wydusa.org and the Canadian website is www.wyd2002.org. Together they contain the latest program information.