Pins, stickers, buttons will help pilgrims remember youth day
By Nancy Wiechec
Catholic News Service
DENVER (CNS) -- Everyone seemed to have a trinket to trade at World Youth Day.
It was the best way to meet new friends, said several youths who loaded their backpacks with small reminders of fellow pilgrims.
"We've given away over 350 smiley-face stickers and 100 star stickers so far," said Leticia Santillan, 18, of Glendale, Ariz.
By the second day of activities, Ms. Santillan and others from her Our Lady of Perpetual Help youth group had exchanged gifts with youths from France, Sweden, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Lebanon and Italy.
"We met so many people. It's been really great," she said.
Ms. Santillan's friends said she was on a "one-woman campaign" to meet everyone at World Youth Day.
"I just think it's neat to know there are people here from all over the world," she said. "They may not speak the same language as you, but we do have that common bond -- our faith."
Thankfully, words were not always necessary to complete a trade.
One young American whipped off his worn baseball cap to exchange for a scarf from an Italian pilgrim. The entire transaction required not a single word, and each walked away happy with a new treasure.
Hat pins, buttons, crosses, rosaries, national flags, postcards and beaded bracelets were among items traded by pilgrims.
Teens and young adults from St. Theresa Parish in Phoenix packed their pockets with Arizona pins and St. Theresa medals to hand out.
Other World Youth Day participants exchanged addresses, expired driver's licenses, signatures and T-shirts.
Dusty Rhodes proudly displayed on his shirt pocket several pins he had collected from foreign pilgrims. Just a day into the festivities he had 80 pins from around the world.
"This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience," said the 15-year-old resident of Alexandria, Va. "Collecting pins is a way to remember it. It's also a great way to meet a lot of different people."
Rhodes' collection included pins from Switzerland, Croatia, Romania, Canada and Spain.
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