World Youth Days in Canada: Canadian Bishops Vote to Begin Talks with Rome

Sunday, October 18 1998

Niagara Falls, Ontario (CCCB) — Canada’s bishops, gathered for their annual plenary meeting, today voted to take a more detailed look at what would be required to hold World Youth Days in Canada in 2002. At the same time, discussions will begin with the Pontifical Council of the Laity in Rome. World Youth Days, initiated by Pope John Paul II in 1985, are held every two years in different parts of the world.

The event held in Denver in 1993 and last year in Paris each attracted more than a million people from around the world. Such a meeting in Canada could attract up to 1.5 million people to the final mass traditionally celebrated by the Pope. The bishops also decided that if the youth gathering is held in Canada, Toronto would be the best choice to host the event.

The vote follows a year-long feasibility study by an ad hoc committee headed by Most Rev. Anthony Meagher, auxiliary Bishop of Toronto. The next step will take place next month when CCCB President Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte of Montreal travels to the Vatican where he will meet with officials of the Pontifical Council of the Laity to indicate Canada’s interest in holding the event. At the same time a new committee, representative of Canada’s four pastoral regions, will be set up to examine more closely what is required, and to report back to the CCCB Permanent Council by April 1999. If it is decided to go ahead, it would then be up to the Pontifical Council of the Laity in Rome to award the event to Canada.

The bishops indicated the event must be national in character, and reflective of Canada’s diversity. All dioceses would participate in planning the event, many of them holding their own events for delegates from around the world in the week proceeding the main celebration. Many of the activities would be pastoral and catechetical in nature, designed with and carried out by Canadian Catholic Youth. The City of Toronto, and the Ontario and Federal governments have already indicated strong interest in the project.