MANILA, July 29, 2011—Almost 2,000 young Catholic Filipinos, accompanied by priests, nuns and their ministers, will attend the 26th World Youth Day (WYD) in Madrid, Spain next month.
The biggest delegation will be deployed by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) under the group ECY (Episcopal Commission on Youth) – Philippines group, with 387 registered pilgrims representing Catholic schools nationwide and youth organizations in the parochial and diocesan levels.
There are 71 groups aside from the ECY-Philippines delegation that also registered for the event. The 71 groups account for at least 1,581 pilgrims who processed their Schengen Visa applications, with the required endorsement from ECY, through the Consulate of Spain in Makati City.
Of the 71 groups outside of the ECY-Philippines delegation, the biggest group will come from the Neo-Catechumenal Way Philippines, with 300 registered pilgrims coming from their organization that is present across the archipelago.
ECY Executive Secretary Fr. Conegundo Garganta, however, clarified that the pilgrim statistics that the ECY has is not reflective of the total number of participants to the WYD, which run from August 16 to 21.
Garganta said among those that the ECY cannot account for are Filipino young professionals and lay missionaries currently based in Europe who will attend the WYD. Same is true with pilgrims that have processed their visa application through the consulates of other Schengen States, those that already have valid Schengen Visa, and those that will be deployed by the Philippine government.
“The ECY cannot account for all WYD pilgrims coming from the Philippines. We can only account for those pilgrims that registered under our delegation and those belong to other groups that sought our endorsement as a requirement for Schengen Visa application at the Consulate of Spain,” he said.
Meanwhile, statistics report posted at www.madrid11.com, the official website of the WYD organizers in Madrid, accounted for at least 3,417 pilgrims from the Philippines who have registered for the WYD as of July 28.
A total of 420,508 pilgrims have registered all over the world, with Italy, Spain, France and the USA, topping the list of countries sending the biggest delegation. Of this number, 133,961 pilgrims will participate in the pre-WYD Days in the Diocese activities from August 10 to 15.
Despite the WYD organizers’ online disclosure, Garganta said not all of those who registered to participate in the WYD can make it to Madrid, mostly because of monetary constraints. Garganta however declined to give the exact number of Filipino delegates that have backed out from attending the WYD.
As per ECY’s estimate, each WYD delegate will have to shell out an estimated US$ 1,800 or Php P78,000 for a two-way trip to Madrid, Spain, aside from the WYD registration fee and other related expenses, amounting to not less than US$500. (YouthPinoy)