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Vatican's Holy Year Booming Online

When Pope John Paul II proclaimed 2000 a holy year, no one would have guessed that observance of the Year of the Jubilee would propogate so quickly online.

More than 100 individual Web sites are now dedicated to the Year of the Jubilee, and, as the new millenium draws near, the number of Holy Year URLs increase almost daily.

According to Vatican reports, while the Eternal City prepares for an estimated 35 million pilgrims, Jubilee sites on the Internet are disbursing a wealth of information on next year's events.

The official Vatican site, for example, provides an overview of manifestations and activities scheduled for the coming year.

The City of Rome has also been working hard to offer a wealth of information to Internet users, according to city officials.

"We have everything from general Jubilee information and tour and travel data to special pages for handicapped visitors, and those wishing to be volunteer workers to sites for anyone needing the assistance of police and other civil protection forces," said a spokesman from the Rome City Council Office of Tourism.

There is also a complete Guide to Rome, with Holy Year links. The region of Lazio, where the Italian capital is located, has also established its own URL dedicated to the year 2000.

In hopes of capturing a share of the Holy Year tourist market, other Italian regions, including Tuscany, Abruzzo and Campania, have also opened special Web sites for the event, as has the city of Venice.