World Youth Day 2011 takes places in Madrid, Spain from August 16-21. An anticipated one million plus people will be there to celebrate our universal Catholic faith with exuberance and joy. Pope Benedict XVI will be with them from the 18th to the 21st. According to the official WYD Madrid website, this is the first WYD completely connected to social networks.
More than two years ago a social network of hundreds of thousands of people was established on the topic of World Youth Day 2011. Since then, a team of professionals has been managing multiple social networks in more than 20 languages to get the word out. Eighty volunteers from five continents are committed to get young people around the world connected to WYD 2011. They are on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.
On Friday, August 19, there will an opportunity for the young people at WYD interested in new media to gather at “iCat” to hear presenters on faith and new media and to discuss their own insights. It will be live streamed over Madrid11TV in English and Spanish.
This is a great time in the Church for all generations and it is a wonderful opportunity for young people to openly celebrate their faith and evangelize through their own personal witness and their social networks.
More than 26,000 people from the U.S. will be at WYD. For those who can’t go in person, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has created a virtual pilgrimage on Facebook where they can create their own avatar and follow the events online through posts, blogs, and live streaming from Madrid.
There will be other social media coverage as well. Fr. Robert Barron’s Word on Fire team will be blogging from Madrid. The Catholic Standard from Archdiocese of Washington has its own WYD blogger, 21 year-old Amanda Hamilton. The USCCB has a team of eight bloggers who will be posting from WYD. BustedHalo.com has two WYD bloggers, Annie Reuter and Joe Williams. Do you know of any other social networks covering WYD 2011? Tell us in the comments below.
Let us join together with the faith-filled young people at WYD 2011 and all over the world to bring about God’s kingdom on earth.
Finally, I think that you will enjoy this brief video about the 26 year history of World Youth Day.