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World Youth Day far short of goal for volunteers.

DENVER -- Now that the flap between World Youth Day organizers and the Arapahoe County sheriff has been all but resolved, the conference's organizers say they are busying themselves in preparation for Pope John Paul II's August visit to Denver.

Sheriff Pat Sullivan said he met with lawyers earlier this month to create a foundation that will collect donations to pay the $191,000 in deputy overtime he says is required for World Youth Day security. He had threatened to shut the event down if organizers did not produce the money.

"We're full speed ahead at Cherry Creek Park," said WYD spokeswoman Cindy Matthews. The park, located in a Denver suburb, will be the site of some highlights of the WYD program, Aug. 11-14.

Organizers have planned a pilgrimage ranging from 1.5 to 15 miles for WYD participants, arranged for the licensing of a host of merchandise commemorating the pope's visit and gained the cooperation of six Denver radio stations, who will broadcast live portions of the pope's visit.

But plans could be hampered by the dearth of volunteers to fill such jobs as stagehands, translators or ushers, Matthews said. She said the event calls for an estimated 7,000 volunteers, but only 2,000 have signed up so far. "We'll need 5 (thousand) to 7,000 drivers, errand runners, escorts, hospitality workers, traffic and crowd control -- you name it and there's a job for them to do."

WYD organizers are also soliciting people in the Denver area to house visitors to the conference, Matthews said. So far, 11,000 people have been placed in people's homes, and "we're still hoping to put 20,000 people in private homes," she said. "We're just over 50 percent."

In other World Youth Day news:

* The pope will visit Jamaica and the Mexican Yucatan before arriving in Denver, according to an itinerary released recently by the Vatican. While in Colorado, the pope will spend a day at the St. Malo Retreat Center, a Catholic facility nestled in the mountains in Estes Park, outside Denver.

* The Greater Denver Chamber of Commerce has estimated that WYD will be worth $147 million to Denver-area merchants. Chamber economist Kristi Corash expects the event's 300,000-plus pilgrims to spend $28.7 million on food alone.

* Even more enticing to Denver business owners is the publicity the international conference is expected to generate, Corash said. She expects as many as 2,000 journalists from throughout the world to cover the event.

* Six Denver AM radio stations will interrupt their normal broadcasts to air selected WYD events in English, Spanish, Italian, Polish, German and French, Matthews said. Broadcast events will include the pope's welcome at Mile High Stadium on Aug. 12, and closing Mass with the pope at Cherry Creek State Park, Aug. 15.

* The Pope-scope, a periscope emblazoned with the Holy Father's image, is among the $20 million worth of memorabilia to be manufactured in honor of the pope's visit. A company called Famous Artists Marketing Exchange, paid "in the neighborhood of $1 million" for the right to coordinate the activities of as many as 60 companies to manufacture papal commemorative items, said John Lemke, FAME's owner.

Items bearing the WYD logo will include mugs, T-shirts, blankets, jackets, ski parkas, sunglasses, sunscreen, scarves, hats, sweatpants, fanny packs, backpacks, tins of chocolate and 2-ounce gold commemorative coins selling for $1,000, Lemke said.

Disabled advocates hope to lobby pope

DENVER -- A group of Denver advocates for the handicapped say they will try to take their case to the pope this August if the Denver archdiocese resists their demands to make its pastoral center accessible to disabled people.

"We feel they're sending a message that it's only God's children who walk who deserve to hear his word," said Karen Tamley, director of a housing project run by Denver's Atlantis Community Inc. "If they refuse to do it by the time the pope comes, we plan to do some demonstrations then."

The group was angered by a recent plan by the archdiocese to spend $13,000 to fence its parking lot and improve security at the pastoral center. The money would be better spent making the building handicapped-friendly, the group contends.

The church is exempt from the Americans With Disabilities Act, and archdiocesan spokeswoman Sr. Rosemary Wilcox has said the archdiocese does not have the money to build handicapped facilities, which would cost an estimated $85,000.
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Title Annotation:Denver, Colorado papal visit; includes related article
Author:Smith, Matt
Publication:National Catholic Reporter
Date:Jun 18, 1993
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