The world is watching: A VIRTUAL PORTAL TO WYD

by Joe Bollig

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Even if you aren’t physically attending World Youth Day 2008 in Sydney, Australia, you can still be a part of all the excitement. Thanks to the Catholic Online resource MyCatholicVoice, you can become a “virtual pilgrim” to what is literally the greatest Catholic youth event in the world.

MyCatholicVoice ( is a free, online, multimedia Catholic resource that was launched this year to give Catholics a way to connect with other Catholics,share resources and their faith, and explore Catholic topics via the Internet. To access the Web site, go to,scroll down, and click on “Be a Virtual Pilgrim on MyCatholicVoice,” on the left side of the page.

“We’re a new media Internet site, which is a combination of iTunes for Catholics, YouTube for Catholics, and a social networking site,” said Fred Fosnacht, a member of Prince of Peace Parish in Olathe and the site’s founder.

For the World Youth Day events, MyCatholicVoice teamed up with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Australian embassy to create a “virtual pilgrimage” for people who want to plug into the great things happening at WYD 2008, but are unable to attend in person.

Visitors to the site will be able to experience World Youth Day through the eyes, ears, and commentary of two dozen high-school and college-age “youth reporters,” who will be roaming the event with digital Flip video cameras. The young reporters will document the activities both visually, through their videos, and verbally through blogs, which, for the Web-challenged, are diary-type written entries posted to a Web site.

But there will be a lot more to the virtual pilgrimage than just these reports, said Fosnacht. In addition to the “feet-on-the-street” coverage by the reporters, the World Youth Day 2008 Web site will feature music, clips from some of the speakers, online discussions, and lots of downloadable material — including free ringtones. And more is being added, said Fosnacht. “There isn’t anything else out there like this for the church,” said Fosnacht.

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