Friday, September 09, 2005

After Cologne 2005--Motivation

"And they departed to their own country by another way" (Mt 2:12)

In his message to the Youth of the World for the XX World Youth Day in Cologne, our late Papa JPII wrote, near the conclusion, that:

"the Gospel tells us that after their meeting with Christ, the Magi returned home 'by another way'. This change of route symbolise the conversion to which all those who encounter Jesus are called, in order to become the true worshippers that He desires."

Inspired by this passage, and also after some reflection on my own life currently, I decided to embark on this project tentatively called "After Cologne 2005".

What is it?
This project aims to study the lives of the young people who attended the World Youth Day in Cologne, 2005, through an Internet portal. In particular, I aim to examine the spiritual impact of the WYD, though I hope to capture this aspect through changes that can be tracked physically (eg. through milestones).

General Objectives
This project started out as a voluntary effort to get to know more people who came to Cologne for the World Youth Day 2005 through the help of an Internet portal. I, the original author, was a volunteer in WYD'05. I was inspired to start a website portal that connects pilgrims and volunteers and everyone else who was involved in the WYD'05, for the reason that:

  1. I find that my own experience as a volunteer is most probably different from most pilgrims, and I personally would like to learn from the pilgrims what they have experienced in WYD'05.
  2. There is a huge mass of attendance in Cologne (and Düsseldorf and Bonn), and it was not always possible for pilgrims (and volunteers), especially from different pilgrimage groups, to exchange contact information during the short while in Cologne.
  3. There is a potential for establishing new friendships and communities based on shared experience in WYD'05 and common desire to extend the extraordinary experience onto our own homes and families and communities.

Specific Objectives of this Project
Bearing in mind that the medium of choice here is an Internet portal, the specific objectives of this project are as follow:

  1. To allow young people to get to know each other better: friends they have just met during the WYD'05, fellow pilgrims with whom they have come together to WYD'05, and new friends they may or may not have encountered personally.

  2. To facilitate the sharing of experience, exchange of ideas that contribute to the development of Christian communities both in their own cities/countries and those that span over distance.

  3. (Optional--depends on resources and abilities) To measure the long-term spiritual impact of the WYD'05, whether in terms of what contribution it had to the youth ministry, or to the individual participant's involvement in the Church.

Having written the above, I must now admit that I embark on this project with core competence only in computer engineering, a dose of common sense and a strong faith that the Holy Spirit will guide me. Although I have some idea about collecting data, determining what kind of general data is useful, and examining data and patterns over a long period of time, I am somewhat at a loss when it comes to deciding what kind of methodology to employ, social data, questions are relevant to this kind of social study.

Here also I wish to invite anyone who is interested to partake in this project; in both getting the sociological aspect and the technical side of building this portal.

PS: This portal will, of course, be built using Open Source components! Viva le OSS!


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