[JMJ 97 - Le Cyberjournal]

The World Is One Big Family!

A human chain around Paris to symbolise faith in uniting together to form one common family.

BELLS rang, crowds cheered and cars honked all together at exactly 10:50 a.m. (Paris time) Saturday as not one but four concentric human rings of fraternity formed around the city of Paris. Thousands of WYD travellers as well as the local population turned out on the sidewalks of the peripheral boulevards to form a living symbol of the goal of a united loving human family: four rings of 36 kilometres, or 144 kilometres of human hands linked together and raised in a gesture to call all peoples to end dispute and segregation in order to form a better world for the third millenium.

A common cause

There was none of the chaos feared by police as the human rings completely surrounded Paris on the boulevards that circle the city. Traffic was only lightly disrupted and motorists honked not in complaint but in unison with the forceful message conveyed by the crowds. Hands joined and faces turned outwards towards all corners of the earth became an important statement for the future: all nations joined together not just in peace but in the joyful celebration of a party!

Don't break the bond

The fact that no one seemed to want to break up the chain of humanity caused minor concern to security forces who were worried about getting everyone on the road to Longchamp for Saturday's Vigil and Mass with the Pope. One French woman from the suburb town of Issy-les-Moulineaux said the chain of humanity was an intense experience and a terrific message of confidence in the future. "I hope everyone realizes now that we can trust the young people of the world and not be worried about where their values are."

Paul-Dominique Masiclat