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To connect with Catholic youth, pope goes digital

Text messages, "digital prayer walls," and a social-networking site are all part of July's World Youth Day in Australia for the Catholic Church.

Ever gotten a text message from the pope? Well, to commemorate the Catholic Church's annual World Youth Day this July, thousands of young Catholics in Australia will be able to say that they did.

ZOMG HAVE U SEEN MY NEW HAT? Text messages from Pope Benedict XVI.

"We wanted to make (World Youth Day 2008) a unique experience by using new ways to connect with today's tech-savvy youth," Bishop Anthony Fisher of the Archdiocese of Sydney said in a statement provided to Reuters on Wednesday. Pope Benedict XVI will be in Sydney for the six-day celebration, which starts on July 15, and Australian youth will be able to connect on a very familiar level: daily inspirational text messages, "digital prayer walls" throughout Sydney, and a social-networking site.

I spent 10 years in Catholic school and we definitely never had anything like this. Guess the digital age does change everything.

According to Reuters, the broadcast, mobile, broadband, and other tech-related services surrounding the event will be provided by the Australian telecom company Telstra, which is preparing for 225,000 pilgrims, 8,000 volunteers, 2,000 clergy, and 3,000 members of the press in Sydney for the celebration.