WYD on track, give or take a few tonnes of rosaries

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With a month to go before half a million young Catholics descend on Madrid, "there are an infinite number of small problems to solve," said the executive director of World Youth Day 2011, the Catholic News Service reports.

Yago de la Cierva said this week that he has "seven tons of rosaries I have to bail out of customs." The U.S.-based Family Rosary Crusade had the rosaries made in Ecuador and sent to Madrid for distribution to participants at World Youth Day, August 16-21.

But, de la Cierva said, it is a bit difficult to convince customs agents that seven tons of anything shipped internationally is meant as a gift and not a product to be sold and, therefore, taxed.

A produce company has promised to donate 25,000 pounds of bananas, but if organizers accept the fruit, "we have to find a way to dispose of all those peels," he told reporters at a news conference in Madrid.

More importantly, he said, the organization is trying to select and get security clearance for the 50 young people who personally will welcome the pope to Madrid Aug. 18, and organizers also are deciding which five young people will have the honor of asking Pope Benedict XVI a question during the vigil on August 20.

With just a month left to plan six days of activities for the more than 420,000 young people who already have registered for World Youth Day and for the 1.2 million people expected at the pope's final Mass Aug. 21, organizers estimate the event will cost more than A$65 million.

However, they said they expect to cover it all with registration fees and donations, especially of supplies. The donated material includes the bananas and other food for participants, but also big-ticket items like private security officers and the materials and labor for the stages and altar platforms for papal events.

FULL STORY WYD organisers: Preparations are on track, minor problems need to be solved (CNS)

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