CNS PHOTO | PAUL HARING
While more than a million people attended the WYD vigil at Madrid, another 250,000 registered pilgrims were locked out of the event.
September 12, 2011
Alan Law wanted to know why the gates were closed so early at Cuatro Vientos airbase on the eve of the papal vigil at World Youth Day. So the Toronto man posed this question on the wall for the official WYD Facebook group, run by event organizers.
"Why were the gates closed so early? A lot of people were locked out," wrote Law, of Tour Design, a travel company that took many Canadian pilgrims to Madrid.
He waited for a response, heard nothing and the next day found that his comment had been erased.
As group leaders and pilgrims return home after World Youth Day, discontent that up to 250,000 pilgrims were locked out of Cuatro Vientos airbase for the overnight vigil and closing Mass continues to be vocalized.
About 1.4 million pilgrims showed up for the overnight vigil, and World Youth Day organizers were equipped to handle only about a million, turning away registered pilgrims from around the world.
"It is the recommendation of the Office of Catholic Youth of the Archdiocese of Toronto that we do not go so far as to request refunds or do any type of formal protest just because we understand that we're dealing with the Church here," said Christian Elia, director.
"The Church in Spain already has financial issues and, as an act of charity, we're not going to take those actions."
However, individual pilgrims have told Elia they will write letters to World Youth Day organizers in Madrid and the Madrid cardinal's office.
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