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23-28 JULY 2002


Canada                    WYD 2002, Toronto                   Ontario

[Updated: 11.10.2001]


Information Sheet
General Outline of the WYD 2002

[By the Youth Section of the Pontifical Council for the Laity (11.10.2001)]

I. General Outline

1. Theme

"You are the salt of the earth ... you are the light of the world" (Mt 5:13,14)

The message of the Holy Father to the Youth of the World on the occasion of the 17th World Youth Day was published on 25th July 2001. The Pontifical Council for the Laity has sent copies of it to Bishops’ Conferences and to international Movements, Associations and Communities. It is also available on the Vatican website on the internet [English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish].

2. Programme of celebrations, July 23-28

World Youth Day is officially opened at the Mass of Welcome presided by Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic in Exhibition Place in the afternoon of Tuesday 23rd July.

The traditional catechesis will be given by bishops from all over the world and will take place in different languages in churches and halls around Toronto each morning of 24th, 25th 26th July.

The Way of the Cross will take place in several locations on the evening of Friday 26th July. The main procession will go through the city centre starting off from City Hall.

Friday 26th will be a special day for the Sacrament of Reconciliation on the lakeshore. The Sacrament will be available in the churches each day during WYD.

Youth Festival activities will take place in the afternoons and evenings (24th - 26th July).

The culmination of World Youth Day will be the Vigil with the Holy Father in Downsview Park on Saturday night, 27th July and the Papal Mass on the morning of Sunday 28th July.

3. Youth Festival

The purpose of the Youth Festival is to allow young people from all over the world to share their artistic, religious and spiritual experiences of faith and life.

These activities will take place during the afternoons and evenings of Wednesday 24th, Thursday 25th, and Friday 26th (except for the time dedicated to the Way of the Cross) in various locations around Toronto.

Groups wishing to present an activity in the Youth Festival programme should send an outline programme before 21st December 2001 to: Youth Festival World Youth Day 2002, (Toronto address below); e-mail:, or to the Pontifical Council for the Laity (address below).

Activities should reflect the spirit of World Youth Day, therefore they should be:

  • open to all
  • inspired by the pastoral theme of World Youth Day
  • simple and straightforward in style
  • characterised by clear religious content

Following these criteria, the Youth Festival will include community service projects with the poor, sick and elderly, prayer meetings, vigils, exhibits, concerts, theatre, dance and film presentations, speakers and discussions groups. There can also be shared meetings prepared by Movements, Associations and Communities, and gatherings with diocesan bishops. The World Youth Day Canadian Committee, together with the Pontifical Council for the Laity, will examine all proposals. The final programme will be published in the "Pilgrim’s Handbook".

Locations will be assigned by Youth Festival coordinators after giving full consideration to the wishes and requirements of the promoting groups. Basic technical equipment will be provided.

4. Hospitality in the Canadian Dioceses (18th to 21st July)

It has become a tradition of World Youth Day for the dioceses of the host country to offer hospitality for several days to young pilgrims on their way to the WYD Host City. The dioceses of Canada (with the exception of Toronto, the host city for WYD 2002) extend this invitation to all groups who would like to avail of this opportunity.

The people of the host dioceses will welcome their guests into their homes, parishes and communities. Activities will include prayer, pilgrimage, social service, tourism and friendly gatherings.

Requests for host dioceses should be addressed to the World Youth Day Canadian Office. They will do their best to respond to wishes to renew former contacts (twin-dioceses, "fidei donum" missionaries, previous encounters, immigrants’ communities etc.).

Host dioceses offer simple accommodation free of charge. Travel costs to the final destination within the host diocese and between the host diocese and Toronto have to be met by the participants.

II. Practical organisation

1. Registration

All those wishing to participate in the 17th World Youth Day need to register officially. Registration is indispensable for all groups and individuals, including those arranging their own accommodation, those staying in hotels, and those living in Toronto. Only those who are registered will have passes for WYD celebrations.

World Youth Day activities are addressed to young people. It is preferable that participants be at least 16 years of age.

Completed registration forms should be returned to the Youth Section of the Pontifical Council for the Laity (address below) as early as possible before 15th May 2002.

Note: Completed registration forms for groups from Canada and the United States of America should be returned to the WYD Canadian Office in Toronto .

Registration is available on the Internet at for those who prefer to register online.

Bishops’ Conferences and international Movements, Associations and Communities may serve as first collecting points for the applications of the various national groups so that more uniform data may be sent to the Pontifical Council for the Laity (PCL). In cases where groups and individuals prefer to register directly with the PCL (or the WYD Canadian Office in the case of groups from Canada and U.S.A.), they should make sure that their group has not been registered twice.

Following registration, each contact person will be given a group registration number that is to be used for reference in all further communications. The WYD Canadian Office in Toronto will then contact group leaders directly and send a second form to collect more specific details required in order to arrange for their stay in Toronto.

2. Solidarity Fund

As customary, to help young people coming from less privileged countries and backgrounds, a Solidarity Fund has been established. Each participant will contribute a sum equivalent to US$10.

On registration, the group leader will pay the total Solidarity Fund contribution of the group to the PCL (or to the Bishops’ Conference, international Movement, Association or Community if it acts as the collecting point), by sending a non transferable bank cheque or the sum in cash together with the registration form. Those paying by bank transfer need to contact the PCL for instructions. Groups from Canada or the U.S.A. should send their Solidarity payments to the WYD Canadian Office in Toronto.

3. Accommodation

Two types of accommodation are offered: " simple " (recommended as it provides more opportunities for experiences of fellowship and solidarity), and " alternative " accommodation. The group’s preference should be clearly indicated on the registration form.

The Canadian WYD Committee proposes different "packages". See the Canadian website for details and prices, or contact them for information at

3.1. Simple accommodation

This includes family stays and accommodation in schools and some tent options. These options will provide water, washrooms and shower facilities. Participants should bring their own sleeping bag. Lodging places are available from July 22nd until July 29th.

3.2. Alternative accommodation

The choices in this kind of accommodation are: hotels and motels, dormitories, serviced campsites. Groups interested in hotels and motels will first need to register for WYD. They need their registration number to access available rooms through a housing bureau operated by Tourism Toronto. The WYD Canadian Office in Toronto will provide information on how groups can contact the housing bureau.

All participants should bring a sleeping bag for the night of Saturday 27th July when they will sleep outside in Downsview Park following the Vigil with the Pope.

4. Other requirements

- Minors [all young people under the age of 18] must be accompanied by adults and carry written authorization from parents or guardians.

- After careful negotiations with the Canadian Government, the Canadian World Youth Day Committee has made arrangements for the normal Visa fee to be waived for all participants who are duly registered for the World Youth Day 2002. In order to ensure that participants from countries whose nationals require Canadian Visitor Visas are able to travel to Canada according to their established travel arrangements, it is strongly recommended that these participants apply AT LEAST 3 MONTHS IN ADVANCE OF THEIR DEPARTURE DATE for the required Canadian Visitor Visa. Such visas can be obtained from the most conveniently located Canadian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate General where visa service is provided. A list of such missions is available along with the requisite visa application forms at or through your group organizer.

- Participants should bring an AM-FM radio with earphones if they wish to listen to the simultaneous translation being broadcast during the major celebrations.

5. Voluntary Service

Those interested in voluntary service should contact the Canadian WYD Committee to obtain the appropriate form. E-mail:

III. Addresses

Pontifical Council for the Laity - Youth Section
00120 - Vatican City
Tel. +39 06.698.87244; Fax +39 06.698.87112

World Youth Day 2002
415 Yonge Street, Suite 900
Toronto, Ontario M5B 2E7
Tel. +1 416 9715353; Fax +1-416-971.67.33


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