WYD pilgrims prepare to receive text messages from Pope - 25 June 2008

 As the countdown to World Youth Day begins, British pilgrims are making sure that their mobile phones are compatible with the Australian telecommunications system, so they don't miss out on daily texts from Pope Benedict.

From the 15-20 July, World Youth Day pilgrims will be able to receive daily inspirational text messages from the Pope; there will also be digital prayer walls at event sites, an online social networking site, XT3.com and religious teaching will be broadcast on the web.

Telstra, the official telecommunications partner of World Youth Day 2008 will be responsible for connecting more than 8,000 volunteers, 2000 clergy, 3,000 media and an anticipated 225,000 pilgrims to more than 700 locations across the country.

Ross Kempsell, World Youth Day Communications Officer for the Diocese of Westminster, said: "This event only happens every three years ­ I'm delighted to be taking part, not only in the real, but also in the virtual World Youth Day world. I definitely won't be deleting the Holy Father's texts ­ I'll be forwarding them onto my friends and family back home. I'll also be sending up my prayer requests on the digital prayer wall and signing up to the social networking site".

Bishop Anthony Fisher OP, the Co-ordinator for World Youth Day 2008 said that the event would be: "the most innovative World Youth Day to date. We wanted to make WYD08 a unique experience by using new ways to connect with today's tech-savvy youth".

For further information see: www.wyd2008.org

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