The 23rd annual World Youth Day (WYD) kicked off this Tuesday in Sydney, Australia. Pope Benedict XVI, 81, arrived on the eve of the event, with plans to rest for three days to refresh from the voyage and be ready to meet his followers on Thursday. But the Holy Father did pass along a word of encouragement via a “spiritual” text message, according to WYD organisers.
The message, sent in English, read: "Young friend, God and his people expect much from u because u have within u the Fathers supreme gift: the Spirit of Jesus - BXVI".
To keep up in the age of new technology, the event’s organisers assured that the Vatican plans to send a message every day to keep the young devotees, estimated at half a million, updated.
Mass can be watched on giant screens or viewed online for those who could not attend the event.
Archbishop Anthony Fisher, spokesperson for the event, indicated that he wanted to make WYD 2008 a “unique experience by using new means of communicating with today’s youth, comfortable with technology.”
"It will be one of the most innovative World Youth Days ever," he promised.