World Youth Day 2002
The 17th World Youth Day 2002 (WYD2002) was a Catholic youth festival held from July 23 to July 28, 2002 in Toronto
Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...

, Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

. World Youth Day
World Youth Day
World Youth Day is a youth-oriented Catholic Church event. While the event itself celebrates the Catholic faith, the invitation to attend extends to all youth, regardless of religious convictions....

 is a celebration of faith begun by Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

 John Paul II
Pope John Paul II
Blessed Pope John Paul II , born Karol Józef Wojtyła , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church and Sovereign of Vatican City from 16 October 1978 until his death on 2 April 2005, at of age. His was the second-longest documented pontificate, which lasted ; only Pope Pius IX ...

 held on an international level every two to three years, and WYD2002 was the tenth such event. It was also Pope John Paul II's last World Youth day. There were an estimated 400,000-500,000 youths from all over the world participating in the week-long festival. Although WYD is designed for Catholics, it attracts sizable numbers of youths from other faiths and denominations, and it was made as a multi-faith celebration of young people from all over the world.

As the event is ultimately an expression of faith, and a critical expression of faith is through service to others, World Youth Day 2002 had the support of some 25,000 volunteers; and some 100,000 pilgrims themselves spent three hours each on one of 750 service projects.

The theme of the event was "You are the salt of the earth ... you are the light of the world" (Matthew
Gospel of Matthew
The Gospel According to Matthew is one of the four canonical gospels, one of the three synoptic gospels, and the first book of the New Testament. It tells of the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth...


The groundswell of Catholic spirituality following World Youth Day 2002 in Canada led to the establishment of Canada's first national Catholic television network, Salt + Light Television
Salt + Light Television
Salt + Light Television is a Canadian category 2 digital cable specialty channel. Launched in July 2003, it is the first Catholic national television channel in Canada...

. Fr. Thomas Rosica
Thomas Rosica
Rev. Thomas Rosica, C.S.B. is a Canadian Catholic priest and Basilian Father. He is the Chief Executive Officer of Canada's Catholic Salt + Light Television network, and frequent national newspaper columnist....

, who was the National Director of WYD2002, is also the founder and Chief Executive Officer
Chief executive officer
A chief executive officer , managing director , Executive Director for non-profit organizations, or chief executive is the highest-ranking corporate officer or administrator in charge of total management of an organization...

 of this new television station.

Days in the Diocese

World Youth Day 2002 solidified Days of the Diocese, held in various dioceses - with the majority in Montreal
Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

, Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

 and London
London, Ontario
London is a city in Southwestern Ontario, Canada, situated along the Quebec City – Windsor Corridor. The city has a population of 352,395, and the metropolitan area has a population of 457,720, according to the 2006 Canadian census; the metro population in 2009 was estimated at 489,274. The city...

, Ontario
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

 - as a major component leading up to the actual WYD Celebrations.

The scale is massive: Days of the Diocese involved the participation of 35 of Canada's 72 dioceses. Events in various communities welcomed pilgrims from all over the world with music, prayers, and cathechetical sessions.

The week-long World Youth Day Celebrations involved the use of some 129 Catholic churches and 7 halls at Exhibition Place, 10 stages (as well as Downsview Park and 5 other parks in Toronto), 30 seminars, 10 prayer experiences, 300 vocational or service group exhibits, 10 cultural gatherings.

John Paul II's Last WYD

With deteriorating health, there was speculation that the Pope would not be able to attend the celebrations.

At his arrival address, he thanked the local, provincial, and federal levels of the Canadian government for supporting the idea of hosting WYD. He recalled his previous Apostolic Journeys to the country and acknowledged that he does not have the same physical strength he once had.

Pope John Paul II participated by being present at all the major events of the week. While not being able to participate in person, he did view the Friday Stations of the Cross
Stations of the Cross
Stations of the Cross refers to the depiction of the final hours of Jesus, and the devotion commemorating the Passion. The tradition as chapel devotion began with St...

 via television coverage by the CBC
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, commonly known as CBC and officially as CBC/Radio-Canada, is a Canadian crown corporation that serves as the national public radio and television broadcaster...


He led the Saturday evening vigil and presided over the Holy Mass on the Sunday, delivering a homily which focused on entrusting the future of the Church to the youth. A crowd of over 850,000 was in attendance for these events.

Theme song

The theme song, "Light of the World" was composed by Fr Robert Lebel, a Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

 priest and a well-known composer of French-language religious music; and translated into English by Bishop Paul-André Durocher. There were four official versions released:
  • Lumière du monde (International) - with an English/French chorus, and four verses in French, English, Spanish and Italian, respectively.
  • Light of the World (English)
  • Lumière du monde (French)
  • Lumière du monde (Instrumental)

The songs were released on a two disc official CD set entitled "Lumière du Monde/Light of the World", released by Oregon Catholic Press (OCP). The album featured bands such as Critical Mass
Critical Mass (Catholic rock)
Critical Mass is a Christian rock band from the Waterloo Region of Ontario, Canada. The band is heavily influenced by its Catholic roots. They have produced and released five albums over their decade-long existence...

, Susan HooKong Taylor, Janelle, Jesse Manibusan among others.

Other versions were also released in localised languages:

Photon arranged and distributed a number of Chinese versions of the song with permission from OCP. A number of versions were released:
  • Light of the World (粤話版) - with Cantonese verses and an English/Cantonese chorus translated by the "World Youth Day 2002 Theme Song Cantonese Translation Team" and sung by Tony Leung and Agnes Tao.
  • Light of the World (國話版) - with Mandarin translations by Kevin Cheung; sung by Ricky Cheung and Martina Lee.
  • Light of the World (Chinese Instrumental) - arranged by James Ng with Chinese instruments

These can be found on "The Way 4 - Light of the World", a disc released by Photon Distribution Inc.

Additional Notes

850,000 people would place the number of people at Downsview Park on 28 July 2006 the 4th largest city in Canada according to the List of the 100 largest cities in Canada

External links

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