AS the one-year countdown to World Youth Day 2008 (WYD08) edges closer the numbers of overseas visitors expected to visit the Brisbane Archdiocese for the Days in the Diocese program is starting to increase.
The Brisbane World Youth Day Secretariat has had contact with over 50 groups and has indications from just under 2000 young people of their plans to visit the diocese during the period July 10 – 14, 2008.
Ms Fran Byrne, guest management liaison with the Brisbane WYD Secretariat, said these numbers were promising and were likely to jump even more significantly when Sydney opened up WYD registration for individuals in mid July.
“We’ve had a lot of enquiries from smaller sized groups of 20, 30 or 40 people mainly from smaller cities and more regional dioceses and we also have a handful of bigger groups 100 – 200 people from larger countries and more metropolitan dioceses” Ms Byrne said.
“As time goes on we are getting more and more diverse in terms of where the enquiries are coming from.
“We’ve had calls from the places you’d expect like USA, Canada, Germany and Italy, but now we’re fielding interest from countries such as Panama, El Salvador and Jamaica,” she said.
Overseas guests that come to the archdiocese will have the option of staying in a city, coastal or country location and will be accommodated by local families as part of the homestay program.
Ms Byrne said the archdiocese was looking to parishes and schools to host these overseas groups in what would prove a beneficial exchange for all.
“It’s an exchange of gifts in the sense that it’s not just us providing some hospitality for these young people.
“In return there’s an opportunity for renewal in our local church,” she said.
“We’re looking to individuals and families from our local parishes and schools to open their homes and accommodate a couple of young people for the duration of the Days in the Diocese program,” she said.
“The homestay role would involve providing accommodation, meals and transport to and from some events as well as offering guests an experience of Australian hospitality and culture.
“Feedback from parishes and schools indicates that many people are already registering their interest to be hosts during the Days in the Diocese next year.
“In most instances the parishes or school community have appointed someone who can be a Days in the Diocese coordinator and the gatherer of these expressions of interest.”
For more information on being a Days in the Diocese host contact the Days in the Diocese coordinator or WYD contact at your parish or school.
The Catholic Leader is an Australian award-winning Catholic newspaper that has been published by the Archdiocese of Brisbane since 1929. Our journalism seeks to provide a full, accurate and balanced Catholic perspective of local, national and international news while upholding the dignity of the human person.
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