MORE than 350 young people from Scotland are jetting off to the World Youth Day celebrations in Toronto, Canada, this weekend in response to an invitation by Pope John Paul II.
Organisers believe half a million young people from all over the world will join together for a special week long pastoral programme culminating with a papal mass on Sunday 28 July.
Toronto is the seventeenth host of the World Youth Day festivities, which began in Rome in 1984. The theme of this year's meeting is taken from Matthew's gospel: "You are the salt of the earthÃ… You are the light of the world." (Mt 5, 13-14)
Catholic youth groups from each of Scotland's eight dioceses will be joined by half of Scotland's bishops and more than a dozen priests and religious.
Archbishop Keith Patrick O'Brien, President of the Bishops' Conference of Scotland, who is travelling to Toronto with the group, said: "Young people are the light of the world. It is highly encouraging to see so many young people come together to celebrate the values and message of Jesus Christ.
It is especially encouraging to see included in the 359 strong Scottish contingent that there are 28 members from the Church of Scotland, highlighting the ecumenical nature of World Youth Day."
Photo opportunity: The Scottish party will be checking in at Glasgow airport between 9am and 11am. The flight number is YT093. The scheduled flight will depart at 12:35pm.
Photographs of the party can be taken between 9:30am and 10am by contacting either of the youth officers below:
Chris Docherty: 07951179353
Christine Riddoch: 07740478236
Catholic Media Office
0141 221 1168