Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of August 29, 2005
Sydney youth hope 2008 runs more smoothly
By TESS CREBBIN
Catholic News Service
A group of Hispanic Australians from Sydney said they were overjoyed that the 2008 World Youth Day will be in their city, but said they would like to see things done differently.
They expressed concerns about overcrowded streets and train stations, languages for Masses and papal-Mass-site behaviour.
"I really got scared in the (train) station," said Eric Reyna, 22, a Salvadoran-Australian who works as a flight instructor.
Pushing and shoving
"They were crowding so many people onto the platforms, and pilgrims were pushing you all over the place," he said. "Trains kept rushing past at top speed, especially the fast ICE trains that did not stop in Cologne. I was very worried that I would get pushed onto the rail tracks.
"They just didn't have enough space available to cater to such masses," he added, expressing confidence in the Sydney public transport system.
He also said he thought the crowds at the papal Mass site at Marienfeld should have some controls and said that at 5 a.m. Aug. 21 he awoke to hear and see two people having sex.
"Also, during Mass, people were lighting up cigarettes, and I also saw some drinking beer. This kind of stuff really interferes with your ability to concentrate on prayer, and it should not happen.
"Perhaps in Sydney we can somehow make sure that (staff) are on site to remind people that this is a gathering of spiritual magnitude and not just a party to come and have a good time at," he said.
Cheryl Gahona, 21, an immigrant from Chile, said she hoped the papal Mass site would be closer to the main part of Sydney than Marienfeld is to Cologne, a distance of 25 km.
"I also think we should have the (staff) checking assigned spaces so that you won't arrive after hours of trying to get there, only to find that your space has been taken and you have nowhere to sleep," she said. "I think we in Sydney need to learn from Cologne's problems and make sure this does not happen there."