The first exclusive World Youth Day social networking Web site to connect pilgrims with the Catholic Church and “virtual pilgrims” around the globe was launched on June 12 by Cardinal George Pell and WYD08 coordinator Bishop Anthony Fisher.
Hosted by Australian telecommunications company Telstra, Xt3.com was launched at the Telstra Experience Centre with 100 young people, who Cardinal Pell and Bishop Fisher invited to be their online friends.
“We are very excited to launch Xt3.com and to be helping young people and their friends plan their trip and share their faith and excitement for World Youth Day,” Bishop Fisher said.
The name ‘Xt3’ was inspired by Pope John Paul II and stands for Christ in the Third Millenium. Pope John Paul II spoke of young people’s special task to bring the message of Christ to the world in the third Millennium.
Xt3.com is the brainchild of two English brothers, John and Robert Toone, and Chris Purslow who will continue to promote the site with the Archdiocese of Sydney after WYD.
Faith connection features such as ‘Ask a Priest’ and ‘Prayer Intentions’ will be unique to the Web site, plus users will have the ability to create discussion groups and debates on contemporary issues. Xt3 will also provide pilgrims with the ability to join official WYD08 groups, charity action groups and create their own interactive profiles.
Private messaging; event calendars; the ability to embed other websites such as parish websites onto Xt3; and a video and multiple photo uploading facility are also possible on the Web site.
The website can also coordinate and organise young people to do something to build a better world, according to Xt3.com co-founder John Toone. Xt3 wants its members to use the site to create initiatives in areas such as social justice, charitable activities, and spreading the Christian message in a secularised world.”
It will also be a way to link together Church agencies and existing groups to share resources and help each other. Over 2000 users joined the ‘alpha’ test site since February 2008 to provide testing, feedback, and to enhance the site in time for its worldwide launch.
The site will also help pilgrims planning their trip to WYD08, or administrators of religious educations programs hoping to create interactive forums for students and young adults.