By Dan McAloon
Catholic News Service
SYDNEY, Australia (CNS) – Pope Benedict XVI will send daily text messages directly to pilgrims during World Youth Day July 15-20 in Sydney, said youth day organizers.
The pope's text messages of hope and inspiration will be carried by World Youth Day's official communications partner, Telstra, said a World Youth Day statement May 7. The Vatican has not commented.
"We wanted to make WYD08 a unique experience by using new ways to connect with today's tech-savvy youth," said Auxiliary Bishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney, World Youth Day coordinator. The Telstra partnership, he said, means that Sydney "will be the most innovative World Youth Day to date."
A Telstra spokesperson said the GSM cell-phone networks running for World Youth Day "will mean many cell phones used by pilgrims from the United States will also work here."
Pilgrims also can purchase a prepaid SIM card for their cell phones when they arrive in Australia. However, a Telstra spokesman noted that CDMA phones do not accept their SIM cards.
In addition to its official Web site – www.wyd2008.org/index.php/en – World Youth Day also will offer an online social networking site – www.xt3.com.
The site's social network will be launched in coming weeks, although pilgrims already may visit the site and ask to be notified via e-mail when registration opens.
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