WYD social networking site connects youths to build faith, friendshipls Christians

SYDNEY, Australia (CNS) -- Sydney Cardinal George Pell and Sydney Auxiliary Bishop Anthony Fisher, the World Youth Day coordinator, launched the first exclusive World Youth Day social networking Web site to connect pilgrims around the globe.

The Web site -- www.Xt3.com -- was launched June 12 in Sydney with 100 young people whom Cardinal Pell and Bishop Fisher invited to be their online friends. Bishop Fisher said the Web site's name stands for "Christ in the Third Millennium," and is inspired by Pope John Paul II who spoke of young people's special task to bring the message of Christ to the world.

"It is hoped that Xt3 users will continue to connect after World Youth Day in July, to build upon friendships made and continue dialogue about what it means to be a young person of faith," he said. Xt3.com is the brainchild of two brothers, John and Robert Toone, and Chris Purslow who will continue to promote the site with the Archdiocese of Sydney after World Youth Day July 15-20.

"This site has been launched in time for the Sydney event, but it is a legacy piece for the Catholic Church in Australia and the world," Robert Toone said. "It is an online platform to enable pilgrims to connect with millions, share the experience and build a better world."

The unique Web site includes features such as "Ask a Priest" and "Prayer Intentions." Users can create discussion groups and debates on contemporary issues. Xt3.com also provides pilgrims with the ability to join official World Youth Day 2008 groups and charity action groups and to create their own interactive profiles. The Web site can coordinate and organize young people to do something to build a better world, said John Toone. "It's not enough just to talk," he said.

A group of trained administrators oversees Xt3.com on a 24-hour basis to ensure that images, videos, comments and discussions are appropriate.

The Web site is hosted by the Australian telecommunications company Telstra.

Copyright (c) 2008 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

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