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00Monday, February 18, 2008 3:48 AM

The official site for WYD-2008:

The Vatican today released the official program for the Pope's visit to Sydney. This is translated from the Italian.

on the occasion of
June 12-21, 2008


Saturday, July 12
Fiumicino, Rome
10.00 Departure from Leonardo Da Vinci international airport
for Darwin/RAAF Military Air Base, northern Australia.

Sunday, July 13
09.15 Arrival at Darwin/RAAF Military Air Base.
Technical stop.

10.30 Departure for Richmond (Sydney)/RAAF Military Air Base.

15.00 Arrival at Richmond (Sydney)/RAAF Military Air Base.

15.15 Travel by car from Richmond airport to a private residence.


Thursday, July 17
07.30 Private Mass at the Chapel of St. Mary’s Cathedral House.

09.00 WELCOME CEREMONY at Government House.
- Address by the Holy Father.

09.30 Travel by car to the Mary MacKillop Memorial.

09.45 PRAYER VISIT at the Mary MacKillop Memorial Chapel.

10.00 Travel by car to Admiralty House.


11.05 Travel by car to St. Mary’s Cathedral House.

11.30 Arrive at St. Mary’s Cathedral House.

14.20 Travel by car from St. Mary’s Cathedral House to Rose Bay Pier.
- Brief welcome rites by aborigines with traditional dances and chants

14.45 The Holy Father boards the cruise ship Sydney 2000 for a sea trip
to the pier at Barangaroo East Darling Harbour.

15.30 Arrival at Barangaroo East Darling Harbour di Sydney.

16.45 Travel by Popemobile to St. Mary’s Cathedral House.

17.30 Arrive at St. Mary’s Cathedral House.

Friday, July 18

07.30 Private Mass at the Chapel of St. Mary’s Cathedral House

09.30 Separate private audiences for
- The Governor of New South Wales
- The Prime Minister of New South Wales
- The Mayor of Sydney
and their families, at the Reception Hall of St. Mary’s Cathedral House.

10.25 Walk from St. Mary’s Cathedral House to the Crypt of St. Mary’s Cathedral.

10.30 ECUMENICAL MEETING at the Crypt.
- Address by the Holy Father.

11.15 Proceed from Crypt to the Chapter Hall of St. Mary’s Cathedral.

11.20 INTERFAITH MEETING at the Chapter Hall.
- Address by the Holy Father.

12.00 Walk back to St. Mary’s Cathedral House.

12.30 LUNCH WITH YOUTH REPRESENTATIVES, at St. Mary’s Cathedral House.

14.55 Walk to St. Mary’s Cathedral

15.00 PRAYER TO START THE 'WAY OF THE CROSS', at the Square facing St. Mary's Cathedral.
- The Holy Father will say the Prayer at the end of the First Station, then proceed
to the Cathedral Crypt to watch the rest of the Via Crucis through Syndey's streets on TV.

18.30 Travel by car to the Church of the Sacred Heart at the
University of Notre Dame, Sydney.

18.45 MEETING WITH A GROUP OF HANDICAPPED YOUTH at the Convalescent Unit of the University,
in the Church of the Sacred Heart.
- Address by the Holy Father.

19.45 Travel by car to St. Mary’s Cathedral House.

20.00 Arrival at St. Mary’s Cathedral House.

Saturday, July 19

09.00 Walk from St. Mary’s Cathedral House to the Cathedral.

- Consecration of the new altar of St. Mary's Cathedral.
- Homily by the Holy Father.

11.30 Return to Sacristy.

11.45 Walk from the Cathedral to the Cathedral House.

12.15 Lunch at Cathedral House with Australian bishops and the papal entourage.

18.30 Travel by car to Randwick Racecourse.

19.00 VIGIL WITH THE YOUTH at Randwick Racecourse.
- Address by the Holy Father.

21.00 Travel by car from the Racecourse to St. Mary’s Cathedral House.

21.30 Arrive at St. Mary’s Cathedral House.

Sunday, July 20

08.30 Travel by car from St. Mary’s Cathedral House to the Victoria Barracks heliport.

08.45 Arrival at the heliport.
- The Holy Father will make an overflight of the youth assembly at Southern Cross Precinct
(Centennial Park and Randwick Racecourse).

09.15 Transfer to Popemobile at the Victoria Barracks heliport to proceed to Randwick Racecourse.
- Popemobile tour among the assembled youth in Centennial Park and Randwick Racecourse.

09.45 Arrival at the Sacristy set up in Randwick Racecourse. a Sydney.

- Homily.
- RECITAL OF THE ANGELUS. Words by the Holy Father.

12.15 Return to the Sacristy.

12.30 Travel by car from Randwick to St. Mary’s Cathedral House.

13.00 Arrival at St. Mary’s Cathedral House.
- Lunch with the Papal entourage.

18.00 Meeting with the benefactors and organizers of WYD 2008 at the Reception Hall of Cathedral House
and in the Chapter Hall of St. Mary's Cathedral.
- Address by the Holy Father.

19.00 Walk from the Cathedral to the Cathedral House.

Monday, July 21

07.00 Private Mass at the Chapel of St. Mary’s Cathedral House.

08.35 Farewell at St. Mary’s Cathedral House.

08.45 Travel by Popemobile from St. Mary’s Cathedral House to the 'Domain' of Sydney.

- Address of the Holy Father.

09.10 Travel by car from the Domain to Sydney international airport.

09.30 DEPARTURE CEREMONY at Sydney international airport.
- Address by the Holy Father.

10.00 Departure from Sydney for Darwin airport.


13.50 Arrive at Darwin airport.
Technical stop.

15.05 Departure from Dariwin airport for Rome (Ciampino).


ROME (Ciampino)

23.00 Arrive at Ciampino airport.

Time difference:
Sydney is 10 hours ahead of Rome time
Darwin is 9.5 hours ahead.

Australia in the world:

The states of Australia and their capitals:

The Pope's first Australian stop, Darwin, is in Northern Australia.



World Youth Day is the largest youth event in the world and will be held in Sydney from 15-20 July 2008.

Organised by the Catholic Church, World Youth Day gathers young people from around the world to build bridges of friendship and hope between continents, peoples and cultures.

In August 2005, Sydney was chosen to host the XXIII World Youth Day. The announcement was made by Pope Benedict XVI in Cologne at the conclusion of the XX World Youth Day in August 2005.

So began our incredible three year journey of planning, preparation and anticipation began for Sydney, Australia... and the youth of the world.

WYD08 will be the occasion of the first visit of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to Australia and we very much look forward to welcoming him to the "Southern Land of the Holy Spirit".

Through the WYD08 experience, young people from throughout the world will make a pilgrimage in faith, meet, and experience the love of God. The young people will have an opportunity to rediscover their baptismal calling and the centrality of the sacraments of the Eucharist and reconciliation, and so discover a new apostolic zeal to witness more fully the Gospel in the modern world. All in the context of the beauty of Australia and the hospitality of the Australian people!


The official World Youth Day program contains a week-long program of events,
and in the year and week prior, a number of lead-up events.

1 July 2007 to 15 July 2008
Journey of the Cross and Icon of Our Lady

Thursday 10 - Monday 14 July 2008
Days in the Dioceses

Tuesday 15 July 08
- Opening Mass of Welcome
celebrated by Cardinal George Pell
- Opening Concert

Wednesday 16 - Friday 18 July 08
- Catechesis sessions every morning
- Youth Festival events in afternoon/evening

Thursday 17 July 08
Arrival of the Holy Father

Friday 18 July 08 - evening
Stations of the Cross

Saturday 19 July 08
- Pilgrimage walk to site of Closing Mass
- Evening Vigil with The Holy Father
- Sleep-out 'under the stars'

Sunday 20 July 08
- Closing Mass and concluding events

00Tuesday, March 11, 2008 5:08 PM


World Youth Day was an initiative of Pope John Paul II, who was inspired by massive gatherings of young people in Rome celebrating the Youth Jubilee in 1984 and the United Nations International Year of Youth in 1985. He wanted to bring together young Catholics from around the globe to celebrate and learn about their faith on a more regular basis.

Pope John Paul II saw WYD as away to reach out to the next generation of Catholics, to demonstrate confidence in them, to rejuvenate the Church and ensure that the core teachings of Christ are transmitted and lived.

There are four main goals for the host nation in staging the largest event for the Catholic Church in Australia:

- To provide a moving and sanctifying pilgrimage in faith
- To provide the forum for youth to experience the power of the Holy Spirit
- To assist the rediscovery of the centrality of the Word and Sacraments in the lives of the young people
- To enable youth to be witnesses to Christ

The first World Youth Day was held in Rome in 1986 on Palm Sunday. Each year since, World Youth Day has been celebrated at a Diocesan level on Palm Sunday.

Every two to three years, a massive international gathering celebrates WYD in a different 'host city' - Cologne, Buenos Aires, Czestochowa, Paris, Toronto, Manila and Denver have all been hosts.

The international World Youth Days are marked by a week-long series of events, attended by the Pope and hundreds of thousands of youth from all over the world.

At the most recent World Youth Day in 2005 in Cologne, the German people saw a witness of faith, hope and love on an unbelievable scale when it welcomed:

- 435,000 registered pilgrims from 197 countries

- 800 Bishops and Cardinals

- 7000 international journalists

An incredible 1.2 million people attended the Final Mass.

00Sunday, March 16, 2008 11:23 AM


The WYD08 theme, received from The Holy Father is:

This passage occurs after the death and resurrection of Jesus, just before his ascension to the Father. It represents the birth of the Church.

The disciples had questioned Jesus about the time of the restoration of Israel. His words 'You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you' were somewhat surprising - they referred to a new meaning of the word "power".

Jesus promises a different kind of "power" to help the Jews from under the yoke of Roman occupation. The power He promises to give is the very Spirit of God, the dynamic potential for transformation, the very condition of living according to the manner of Jesus' life.

This Spirit is not a vague ambiguous force, rather it is a Divine Person, the true Self Gift of the Father to the Son, and the Son to the Father, and hence the gift of the Father to us in the Son - with Him we say "Our Father".

Only with the reception of the Spirit of Jesus can we exercise the authentic passion of the Heart of Christ, and hence by being set on fire with it do we as persons become witnesses to Him and everything for which He stands.

The ultimate witness we can make is to follow in the pattern of His life through the total self gift of our lives, lived authentically in truth and love for Him and at the service of others.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The Pope was on vacation in Lorenzago di Cadore last year when he released the Meesage for World Youth Day 2008, specifying the theme, and spelling out for the young people what they could do in the year preceding the Sydney jubilee jamboree to prepare for it approrpiately.



“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you;
and you will be my witnesses.”
(Acts 1:8)

My dear young friends!

1. The XXIII World Youth Day

I always remember with great joy the various occasions we spent together in Cologne in August 2005. At the end of that unforgettable manifestation of faith and enthusiasm that remains engraved on my spirit and on my heart, I made an appointment with you for the next gathering that will be held in Sydney in 2008.

This will be the XXIII World Youth Day and the theme will be: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8). The underlying theme of the spiritual preparation for our meeting in Sydney is the Holy Spirit and mission.

In 2006 we focussed our attention on the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of Truth. Now in 2007 we are seeking a deeper understanding of the Spirit of Love. We will continue our journey towards World Youth Day 2008 by reflecting on the Spirit of Fortitude and Witness that gives us the courage to live according to the Gospel and to proclaim it boldly.

Therefore it is very important that each one of you young people - in your communities, and together with those responsible for your education - should be able to reflect on this Principal Agent of salvation history, namely the Holy Spirit or the Spirit of Jesus.

In this way you will be able to achieve the following lofty goals:
- to recognize the Spirit’s true identity, principally by listening to the Word of God in the Revelation of the Bible;
- to become clearly aware of his continuous, active presence in the life of the Church, especially as you rediscover that the Holy Spirit is the “soul”, the vital breath of Christian life itself, through the sacraments of Christian initiation - Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist;
- to grow thereby in an understanding of Jesus that becomes ever deeper and more joyful, and, at the same time,
- to put the Gospel into practice at the dawn of the third millennium.

In this message I gladly offer you an outline for meditation that you can explore during this year of preparation. In this way you can test the quality of your faith in the Holy Spirit, rediscover it if it is lost, strengthen it if it has become weak, savour it as fellowship with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ, brought about by the indispensable working of the Holy Spirit.

Never forget that the Church, in fact humanity itself, all the people around you now and those who await you in the future, expect much from you young people, because you have within you the supreme gift of the Father, the Spirit of Jesus.

2. The promise of the Holy Spirit in the Bible

Attentive listening to the Word of God concerning the mystery and action of the Holy Spirit opens us up to great and inspiring insights that I shall summarize in the following points.

Shortly before his Ascension, Jesus said to his disciples: “And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you” (Lk 24:49). This took place on the day of Pentecost when they were together in prayer in the Upper Room with the Virgin Mary. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the nascent Church was the fulfilment of a promise made much earlier by God, announced and prepared throughout the Old Testament.

In fact, right from its opening pages, the Bible presents the spirit of God as the wind that “was moving over the face of the waters” (cf. Gen 1:2). It says that God breathed into man’s nostrils the breath of life (cf. Gen 2:7), thereby infusing him with life itself. After original sin, the life-giving spirit of God is seen several times in the history of humankind, calling forth prophets to exhort the chosen people to return to God and to observe his commandments faithfully.

In the well-known vision of the prophet Ezekiel, God, with his spirit, restores to life the people of Israel, represented by the “dry bones” (cf. 37:1-14). Joel prophesied an “outpouring of the spirit” over all the people, excluding no one. The sacred author wrote: “And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out my spirit on all flesh ... Even upon the menservants and maidservants, in those days, I will pour out my spirit” (3:1-2).

In “the fullness of time” (cf. Gal 4:4), the angel of the Lord announced to the Virgin of Nazareth that the Holy Spirit, “the power of the Most High”, would come upon her and overshadow her. The child to be born would be holy and would be called Son of God (cf. Lk 1:35). In the words of the prophet Isaiah, the Messiah would be the one on whom the Spirit of the Lord would rest (cf. 11:1-2; 42:1).

This is the prophecy that Jesus took up again at the start of his public ministry in the synagogue in Nazareth. To the amazement of those present, he said: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour” (Lk 4:18-19; cf. Is 61:1-2).

Addressing those present, he referred those prophetic words to himself by saying: “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Lk 4:21). Again, before his death on the Cross, he would tell his disciples several times about the coming of the Holy Spirit, the “Counselor” whose mission would be to bear witness to him and to assist believers by teaching them and guiding them to the fullness of Truth (cf. Jn 14:16-17, 25-26; 15:26; 16:13).

3. Pentecost, the point of departure for the Church’s mission

On the evening of the day of resurrection, Jesus appeared to his disciples, “he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’” (Jn 20:22).

With even greater power the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles on the day of Pentecost. We read in the Acts of the Apostles: “And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them” (2:2-3).

The Holy Spirit renewed the Apostles from within, filling them with a power that would give them courage to go out and boldly proclaim that “Christ has died and is risen!” Freed from all fear, they began to speak openly with self-confidence (cf. Acts 2:29; 4:13; 4:29,31).

These frightened fishermen had become courageous heralds of the Gospel. Even their enemies could not understand how “uneducated and ordinary men” (cf. Acts 4:13) could show such courage and endure difficulties, suffering and persecution with joy. Nothing could stop them. To those who tried to silence them they replied: “We cannot keep from speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20). This is how the Church was born, and from the day of Pentecost she has not ceased to spread the Good News “to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

4. The Holy Spirit, soul of the Church and principle of communion

If we are to understand the mission of the Church, we must go back to the Upper Room where the disciples remained together (cf. Lk 24:49), praying with Mary, the “Mother”, awaiting the Spirit that had been promised. This icon of the nascent Church should be a constant source of inspiration for every Christian community.

Apostolic and missionary fruitfulness is not principally due to programmes and pastoral methods that are cleverly drawn up and “efficient”, but is the result of the community’s constant prayer (cf. Evangelii Nuntiandi, 75).

Moreover, for the mission to be effective, communities must be united, that is, they must be “of one heart and soul” (cf. Acts 4:32), and they must be ready to witness to the love and joy that the Holy Spirit instils in the hearts of the faithful (cf. Acts 2:42).

The Servant of God John Paul II wrote that, even prior to action, the Church’s mission is to witness and to live in a way that shines out to others (cf. Redemptoris Missio, 26). Tertullian tells us that this is what happened in the early days of Christianity when pagans were converted on seeing the love that reigned among Christians: “See how they love one another” (cf. Apology, 39 § 7).

To conclude this brief survey of the Word of God in the Bible, I invite you to observe how the Holy Spirit is the highest gift of God to humankind, and therefore the supreme testimony of his love for us, a love that is specifically expressed as the “yes to life” that God wills for each of his creatures. This “yes to life” finds its fullness in Jesus of Nazareth and in his victory over evil by means of the redemption.

In this regard, let us never forget that the Gospel of Jesus, precisely because of the Spirit, cannot be reduced to a mere statement of fact, for it is intended to be “good news for the poor, release for captives, sight for the blind ...”.

With what great vitality this was seen on the day of Pentecost, as it became the grace and the task of the Church towards the world, her primary mission!

We are the fruits of this mission of the Church through the working of the Holy Spirit. We carry within us the seal of the Father’s love in Jesus Christ which is the Holy Spirit. Let us never forget this, because the Spirit of the Lord always remembers every individual, and wishes, particularly through you young people, to stir up the wind and fire of a new Pentecost in the world.

5. The Holy Spirit as “Teacher of the interior life”

My dear young friends, the Holy Spirit continues today to act with power in the Church, and the fruits of the Spirit are abundant in the measure in which we are ready to open up to this power that makes all things new.

For this reason it is important that each one of us know the Spirit, establish a relationship with Him and allow ourselves to be guided by Him. However, at this point a question naturally arises: who is the Holy Spirit for me? It is a fact that for many Christians He is still the “great unknown”.

This is why, as we prepare for the next World Youth Day, I wanted to invite you to come to know the Holy Spirit more deeply at a personal level.

In our profession of faith we proclaim: “I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son” (Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed). Yes, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the love of the Father and of the Son, is the Source of life that makes us holy, “because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us” (Rom 5:5).

Nevertheless, it is not enough to know the Spirit; we must welcome Him as the guide of our souls, as the “Teacher of the interior life” who introduces us to the Mystery of the Trinity, because He alone can open us up to faith and allow us to live it each day to the full. The Spirit impels us forward towards others, enkindles in us the fire of love, makes us missionaries of God’s charity.

I know very well that you young people hold in your hearts great appreciation and love for Jesus, and that you desire to meet Him and speak with Him. Indeed, remember that it is precisely the presence of the Spirit within us that confirms, constitutes and builds our person on the very Person of Jesus crucified and risen. So let us become familiar with the Holy Spirit in order to be familiar with Jesus.

6. The Sacraments of Confirmation and the Eucharist

You might ask, how can we allow ourselves to be renewed by the Holy Spirit and to grow in our spiritual lives? The answer, as you know, is this: we can do so by means of the Sacraments, because faith is born and is strengthened within us through the Sacraments, particularly those of Christian initiation: Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist, which are complementary and inseparable (cf. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1285).

This truth concerning the three Sacraments that initiate our lives as Christians is perhaps neglected in the faith life of many Christians. They view them as events that took place in the past and have no real significance for today, like roots that lack life-giving nourishment.

It happens that many young people distance themselves from their life of faith after they have received Confirmation. There are also young people who have not even received this sacrament. Yet it is through the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and then, in an ongoing way, the Eucharist, that the Holy Spirit makes us children of the Father, brothers and sisters of Jesus, members of his Church, capable of a true witness to the Gospel, and able to savour the joy of faith.

I therefore invite you to reflect on what I am writing to you. Nowadays it is particularly necessary to rediscover the sacrament of Confirmation and its important place in our spiritual growth.

Those who have received the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation should remember that they have become “temples of the Spirit”: God lives within them. Always be aware of this and strive to allow the treasure within you to bring forth fruits of holiness.

Those who are baptized but have not yet received the sacrament of Confirmation, prepare to receive it knowing that in this way you will become “complete” Christians, since Confirmation perfects baptismal grace (cf. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1302-1304).

Confirmation gives us special strength to witness to and glorify God with our whole lives (cf. Rom 12:1). It makes us intimately aware of our belonging to the Church, the “Body of Christ”, of which we are all living members, in solidarity with one another (cf. 1 Cor 12:12-25).

By allowing themselves to be guided by the Spirit, each baptized person can bring his or her own contribution to the building up of the Church because of the charisms given by the Spirit, for “to each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (1 Cor 12:7).

When the Spirit acts, he brings his fruits to the soul, namely “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Gal 5:22).

To those of you who have not yet received the sacrament of Confirmation, I extend a cordial invitation to prepare to receive it, and to seek help from your priests. It is a special occasion of grace that the Lord is offering you. Do not miss this opportunity!

I would like to add a word about the Eucharist. In order to grow in our Christian life, we need to be nourished by the Body and Blood of Christ. In fact, we are baptized and confirmed with a view to the Eucharist (cf. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1322; Sacramentum Caritatis, 17).

“Source and summit” of the Church’s life, the Eucharist is a “perpetual Pentecost” since every time we celebrate Mass we receive the Holy Spirit who unites us more deeply with Christ and transforms us into Him.

My dear young friends, if you take part frequently in the eucharistic celebration, if you dedicate some of your time to adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, the Source of love which is the Eucharist, you will acquire that joyful determination to dedicate your lives to following the Gospel.

At the same time it will be your experience that whenever our strength is not enough, it is the Holy Spirit who transforms us, filling us with his strength and making us witnesses suffused by the missionary fervour of the risen Christ.

7. The need and urgency of mission

Many young people view their lives with apprehension and raise many questions about their future. They anxiously ask: How can we fit into a world marked by so many grave injustices and so much suffering? How should we react to the selfishness and violence that sometimes seem to prevail? How can we give full meaning to life?

How can we help to bring it about that the fruits of the Spirit mentioned above, “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (no. 6), can fill this scarred and fragile world, the world of young people most of all?

On what conditions can the life-giving Spirit of the first creation and particularly of the second creation or redemption become the new soul of humanity?

Let us not forget that the greater the gift of God - and the gift of the Spirit of Jesus is the greatest of all – so much the greater is the world’s need to receive it and therefore the greater and the more exciting is the Church’s mission to bear credible witness to it.

You young people, through World Youth Day, are in a way manifesting your desire to participate in this mission. In this regard, my dear young friends, I want to remind you here of some key truths on which to meditate.

Once again I repeat that only Christ can fulfil the most intimate aspirations that are in the heart of each person. Only Christ can humanize humanity and lead it to its “divinization”. Through the power of his Spirit he instils divine charity within us, and this makes us capable of loving our neighbour and ready to be of service.

The Holy Spirit enlightens us, revealing Christ crucified and risen, and shows us how to become more like Him so that we can be “the image and instrument of the love which flows from Christ” (Deus Caritas Est, 33).

Those who allow themselves to be led by the Spirit understand that placing oneself at the service of the Gospel is not an optional extra, because they are aware of the urgency of transmitting this Good News to others.

Nevertheless, we need to be reminded again that we can be witnesses of Christ only if we allow ourselves to be led by the Holy Spirit who is “the principal agent of evangelization” (cf. Evangelii Nuntiandi, 75) and “the principal agent of mission” (cf. Redemptoris Missio, 21).

My dear young friends, as my venerable predecessors Paul VI and John Paul II said on several occasions, to proclaim the Gospel and bear witness to the faith is more necessary than ever today (cf. Redemptoris Missio, 1).

There are those who think that to present the precious treasure of faith to people who do not share it means being intolerant towards them, but this is not the case, because to present Christ is not to impose Him (cf. Evangelii Nuntiandi, 80).

Moreover, two thousand years ago twelve Apostles gave their lives to make Christ known and loved. Throughout the centuries since then, the Gospel has continued to spread by means of men and women inspired by that same missionary fervour.

Today too there is a need for disciples of Christ who give unstintingly of their time and energy to serve the Gospel. There is a need for young people who will allow God’s love to burn within them and who will respond generously to his urgent call, just as many young blesseds and saints did in the past and also in more recent times.

In particular, I assure you that the Spirit of Jesus today is inviting you young people to be bearers of the good news of Jesus to your contemporaries. The difficulty that adults undoubtedly find in approaching the sphere of youth in a comprehensible and convincing way could be a sign with which the Spirit is urging you young people to take this task upon yourselves.

You know the ideals, the language, and also the wounds, the expectations, and at the same time the desire for goodness felt by your contemporaries. This opens up the vast world of young people’s emotions, work, education, expectations, and suffering ... Each one of you must have the courage to promise the Holy Spirit that you will bring one young person to Jesus Christ in the way you consider best, knowing how to “give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but [to] do it with gentleness and reverence” (cf. 1 Pet 3:15).

In order to achieve this goal, my dear friends, you must be holy and you must be missionaries since we can never separate holiness from mission (cf. Redemptoris Missio, 90).

Do not be afraid to become holy missionaries like Saint Francis Xavier who travelled through the Far East proclaiming the Good News until every ounce of his strength was used up, or like Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus who was a missionary even though she never left the Carmelite convent. Both of these are “Patrons of the Missions”.

Be prepared to put your life on the line in order to enlighten the world with the truth of Christ; to respond with love to hatred and disregard for life; to proclaim the hope of the risen Christ in every corner of the earth.

8. Invoking a “new Pentecost” upon the world

My dear young friends, I hope to see very many of you in Sydney in July 2008. It will be a providential opportunity to experience the fullness of the Holy Spirit’s power. Come in great numbers in order to be a sign of hope and to give appreciative support to the Church community in Australia that is preparing to welcome you.

For the young people of the country that will host you, it will be an exceptional opportunity to proclaim the beauty and joy of the Gospel to a society that is secularized in so many ways. Australia, like all of Oceania, needs to rediscover its Christian roots.

In the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Oceania, Pope John Paul II wrote: “Through the power of the Holy Spirit, the Church in Oceania is preparing for a new evangelization of peoples who today are hungering for Christ... A new evangelization is the first priority for the Church in Oceania” (no. 18).

I invite you to give time to prayer and to your spiritual formation during this last stage of the journey leading to the XXIII World Youth Day, so that in Sydney you will be able to renew the promises made at your Baptism and Confirmation. Together we shall invoke the Holy Spirit, confidently asking God for the gift of a new Pentecost for the Church and for humanity in the third millennium.

May Mary, united in prayer with the Apostles in the Upper Room, accompany you throughout these months and obtain for all young Christians a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit to set their hearts on fire. Remember: the Church has confidence in you!

We Pastors, especially, pray that you may love and lead others to love Jesus more and more and that you may follow Him faithfully. With these sentiments I bless you all with deep affection.

From Lorenzago, 20 July 2007

00Wednesday, March 19, 2008 3:06 PM
Post: 147

Pope tells theologian he's coming to Australia

When pressed earlier this month by Fr Tony Kelly of the Australian Catholic University, Pope Benedict XVI gave his assurance that he will be visiting Sydney for World Youth Day 2008, "God willing".

Fr Kelly, who lectures at the University's McAuley Campus in Brisbane, was in Rome for the meeting of the International Theological Commission.

The Commission's 30 members were each presented to Pope Benedict. His Brisbane colleague Yuri Koszarycz provided Kelly's account of his encounter with the Holy Father.

"He knew us all from previous meetings at which, in his previous role, he was often present in his role as President of the plenary sessions," he said. "Last year it was he who presented us to Pope John Paul; this year Archbishop Levada presented us to him."

Fr Kelly said that the Pope was "most relaxed and unassuming, with a word for each one, as he switched from one language to another".

"When it came to my turn, he immediately got onto the planned Sydney World Youth Day in 2008. Needless to say, I expressed our Australian hopes that he would be coming. He said, 'Well, I'll be eighty one then'. After a few more pleasant exchanges he assured me he would be coming, 'God willing'."

It has been hoped that Pope Benedict would commit to visiting Australia for World Youth Day. It was even reported in OCtober that Victorian Premier Steve Bracks, Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart and Cardinal George Pell are lobbying the Vatican for a Melbourne stop during the visit.

Fr Kelly was a prime mover in the Commission's discussions on limbo, a theory which the it recommended should be consigned to history.

Post: 2584

Pope says he plans to attend
World Youth Day 2008 in Australia

By John Thavis
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI announced that he planned to attend World Youth Day celebrations in Australia in July 2008, and he encouraged young people to prepare for "this marvelous celebration of the faith."

Speaking at the end of his general audience July 4, the pope confirmed hopes that he would make the 10,000-mile journey from Rome to Sydney for the international assembly with hundreds of thousands of youths.

"One year from now we will meet at World Youth Day in Sydney!" the pope told a group of young people in Rome for a planning session. The pope tentatively was scheduled to arrive in Sydney July 17, 2008, for four days of ceremonies.

"For many of us, this will be a long journey. Yet Australia and its people evoke images of a warm welcome and wondrous beauty, of an ancient aboriginal history, and a multitude of vibrant cities and communities," he said.

The pope encouraged young people to prepare for World Youth Day by entering fully into the life of their local parishes. The more they participate enthusiastically in local church events, he said, the more they will approach the megagathering in Sydney with "awe and eager anticipation."

"World Youth Day is much more than an event. It is a time of deep spiritual renewal, the fruits of which benefit the whole of society," he said.

The pope underlined the importance of the theme of World Youth Day: "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses to the ends of the earth." Receiving the power of the spirit, he said, helps transform uncertainty, fear and division into purpose, hope and communion.

He told the young people that today's world needs their faith, energy and love. Against a "tide of secularism," he said, many young people are rediscovering the quest for authentic beauty, goodness and truth.

"Some of you have friends with little real purpose in their lives, perhaps caught up in a futile search for endless new experiences. Bring them to World Youth Day, too!" the pope said.

Young Catholics should be courageous in witnessing to the Gospel and spreading "Christ's guiding light, which gives purpose to all life," he said.

3/12/2006 5:16 PM
Post: 1600


Let me just excerpt fast the most important sentence in John Allen's Word from Rome of 3/10/06, in which he quotes Auxiliary Bishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney, who will be the CEO, in effect, for WYD in Sdyney in 2008.

Fisher was in Rome this week for meetings with the Pontifical Council for the Laity, the Vatican office in charge of World Youth Day, and he sat down with Allen March 6 for an interview.

Q: Are you confident the pope will be there?
We're as confident as any previous host has been. … In 2008, Benedict XVI will be 81. He looks pretty strong at the moment. I spoke to the Pope last week, during an audience for members of the Pontifical Academy for Life, and he said he is looking forward to coming to Australia. …

Post: 290

Cardinal Pell says WYD preparation
means spiritual readiness

By Nancy Wiechec
October 1, 2007
Catholic News Service (

SYDNEY, Australia (CNS) – As planning for the world's largest youthfest gathers momentum, Sydney's cardinal said his main concern was the spiritual preparation of young Australians.

VOLUNTEER STAMPS WORLD YOUTH DAY ON TINY CROSSES – A volunteer stamps a World Youth Day 2008 logo on tiny crosses being made at the Mary MacKillop Outreach Center in Sydney, Australia, Sept. 16. Senior workers at the center are making tens of thousands of the crosses to be distributed during the journey of the World Youth Day cross and icon. (CNS)

Logistical difficulties will be involved in hosting up to a half-million people for World Youth Day 2008, admitted Sydney Cardinal George Pell, but he said he is confident that the July 15-20 celebration will be well organized.

"The most important challenge is the spiritual and religious preparation," he said.

Both young people and clergy told a group of visiting journalists in late September that they feel religion slipping away in their culture. Nineteen percent of Australians did not claim a religion in a 2006 census, up 2 percent from the previous count.

"An increasing minority of young Australians and other Australians are tempted to believe that you can live a good life without God," said Cardinal Pell. "There's an erosion of faith and practice."

Nick Seselja, 23, called Australia's church a "sleeping giant" ready to be awakened. Patrick Langrall, 19, said many parts of the country suffer from a "spiritual drought."

But the two said they were encouraged by their own faith experiences and the preparations for the event. They said they are hoping for the spiritual gains that have been realized by past hosts of international World Youth Days.

Bringing together such large numbers of youths has an impact, said Langrall.

"It encourages you to witness your faith a lot stronger in the years to come," he said. "People need that reaffirming of faith."

Sydney Auxiliary Bishop Anthony Fisher, coordinator of the 2008 event, echoed that thought. The dividend of World Youth Day is "a greater connection and commitment to God and the church," he said.

Cardinal Pell said he personally saw "deep conversions" in some youths with whom he traveled to World Youth Day in Rome in 2000.

"I am very much an enthusiast for the religious potential of World Youth Day," he said.

"One of the great blessings that the World Youth Day will give us is that it will present the one true God to us, remind us of the teaching and the role of Christ, the only Son of God, and generally place spiritual values in the public domain," he said.

In preparation, the Australian church established a comprehensive catechesis program that began in June 2006 and will extend to July 2008. It includes a monthly e-pilgrimage newsletter that can be downloaded from the Web site

It also established the Holy Hour of Power, which encourages Catholic parishes and schools to hold an hour of eucharistic adoration each week.

The World Youth Day song, "Receive the Power," was released this year and has been downloaded at least 45,000 times from the Web.

The Diocese of Wollongong recently appointed its first full-time youth ministry coordinator. In Sydney, St. Mary's Cathedral has adapted the music and liturgy of its Sunday evening Mass to attract young people.

But probably the most interest in World Youth Day comes with the touring of its two symbols -- the cross and its accompanying icon of Mary and the child Jesus.

The cross and icon, entrusted to the youth of the world by the late Pope John Paul II, are on a journey that will cover the island continent. At the end, Australian youths will have escorted the two symbols thousands of miles to 400 locations in the country's 28 dioceses.

Each stop offers young people and others the chance to join in a prayer service or liturgy centered on the theme of World Youth Day, which discusses receiving the power of the Holy Spirit.

In Cairns a public prayer rally with the cross and icon caught the attention of several passers-by.

"The cross is definitely a draw," said Daniel Hopper, the Wollongong Diocese's executive director for World Youth Day. Although the church in Wollongong keeps the World Youth Day program front and center with little pilgrimages, youth concerts and other activities, he said he thinks the arrival of the cross will spur even greater participation and encourage more local youths to register for July's main event.


Post 9938

Sydney racetrack officials
ready to accept WYD visit

Sydney, Oct. 26, 2007 ( - Horse trainers at Australia's Randwick race course, outside Sydney, are reluctantly conceding that World Youth Day festivities will take place at the track in July 2008 over their protests.

The state-owned track had been chosen as the only site capable of accommodating the crowds expected for WYD. But horse owners and trainers had complained bitterly that they were not being offered adequate compensation for moving their horses and training elsewhere during the event.

However, after weeks of tense and sometimes acrimonious negotiations, government officials have now offered a financial deal for the Randwick officials that may satisfy the trainers' demands. Anthony Cummings, the president of the Randwick Trainers' Association, said that "with a few tweaks, we could be happy" with the compensation package.

Post: 2931

Church in Brazil reiterates
desire to host WYD

Sao Paulo, Oct 29, 2007 / 11:05 am (CNA).- The National Conference of Bishops of Brazil has reiterated its desire to host the next World Youth Day after Sydney 2008. The bishops made their initial request to host the event during Pope Benedict XVI’s recent visit to Brazil.

Brazil is competing with Spain, Great Britain and other countries to host the next WYD, said Bishop Geraldo Lyrio Rocha, according to the Associated Press. He said the bishops asked the Holy Father to be considered when he visited Brazil for the 5th General Conference of the Latin American Bishops’ Council.

He noted that the announcement of the location of the next WYD is usually made during the celebration of the one prior, and for this reason they will wait until next July to receive a response.

Among the Brazilians cities that could host the event are Bello Horizonte in southeastern Brazil, and Rio de Janeiro.

WYD is held every three years. The last gathering took place in Cologne, Germany in 2005. The Australian city of Sydney is preparing to host the event in 2008.

Post: 10291

Racing industry to get a $41M
compensation package for World Youth Day

By Linda Morris
Sydney Morning Herald
November 15, 2007

Australian taxpayers will pay $41 million to compensate the racing industry for quitting their traditional home of Royal Randwick during World Youth Day.

The bill will be split equally between the State and Federal governments, with $10 million of the total being a contingency fund in case the racecourse is damaged.

It will cover the cost of relocating 700 horses, staff and anxilliary services to Rose Hill and Warwick Farm.

The Australian Jockey Club, which has refused to sign an access agreement while negotiations for compensation proceeded, is expected to hand over the site to the Catholic Church for construction works for a 10-week period.

The agreement, thrashed out over four months during which the racecourse became a quarantine centre for horses caught by the equine flu outbreak, will give certainty to the event and help organisers prepare for the planned visit of Pope Benedict XVI, next July.

The event will be the highlight of the six-day international gathering for young Catholics.

With less than nine months before the Mass, and substantial site works yet to be started, the church now faces a monumental task to get the racecourse ready in time.

This includes building an altar for the Pope, who is expected to draw as many as 500,000 worshippers to the overnight Mass.

Racing NSW chief executive, Peter Vlandys, welcomed the breakthrough, saying that many people did not appreciate the magnitude of the relocation effort.

"The NSW Racing industry has always recognised this is a world signature event but it shouldn't be subsidised financially by the racing industry. All we have requested is we be at break-even point and we believe we have been able to achieve this and we thank the State and Federal governments for the good faith in their negotiations."

$100M for Pope's
big day at the races

bY Jill Rowbotham
The Australian
November 15, 2007

TAXPAYER contributions to the Catholic Church's World Youth Day festival crept closer to the $100 million mark yesterday with the announcement of a $40 million compensation package to the racing industry.

And while NSW Deputy Premier John Watkins, who announced the deal, estimated about $150million in economic benefit from the six-day event to be held in Sydney next July, he conceded there was no way of estimating the final cost.

Organisers of the festival have been feuding with trainers and others for months over plans to use Randwick racecourse to host an overnight vigil and a Papal mass.

As Mr Watkins declared a truce between the Randwick trainers, the Australian Jockey Club, and Racing NSW on one hand and the NSW Government and church on the other, John Howard announced that the federal Government would foot half the compensation package. This is in addition to $35million already pledged by the federal Government and brings its total contribution to $55million.

The state Government's $20million commitment yesterday is on top of $20million "in kind", consisting of services, but Mr Watkins conceded it was a moveable target.

"We do not yet know the final all-up cost of WYD," he said.

The Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney is paying $15-20million towards the event, but there will also be funds from corporate partners and from pilgrims who are paying part of their own costs.

Today's deal bears out the estimate Sydney Archbishop Cardinal George Pell gave last month when he said the event would almost certainly cost more than $100million.

Under the deal announced yesterday, the 700 horses stabled at Randwick will relocate to Warwick Farm and Rosehill racecourses for 10 weeks from June while Randwick is prepared to host the vigil and papal mass.

The vigil is expected to attract 300,000 people, but when Pope Benedict XVI conducts mass there the next day numbers could swell to 500,000.

Racing NSW chief executive Peter V'landys said the anger had subsided while the vice-president of the NSW Trainers Association, John O'Shea, described the result as "acceptable".

"The best result for us was always that World Youth Day was not going to be held at Randwick," Mr O'Shea said.

Under the deal, the AJC will get $3million for costs incurred by them and an extension of the lease for Randwick, which will ultimately run 99 years.

Up to $10million will go to construction of infrastructure at the other two racecourses to accommodate the Randwick horses and trainers; $7million to redevelop Randwick in preparation for World Youth Day; and $10.8million reimbursement to trainers and other service providers from Randwick for relocating.

There is up to $10million in contingency money to ensure restoration of Randwick in time for next year's Spring Carnival.

Trainers and the AJC were against church and government plans for Randwick before the outbreak of equine influenza hit the industry and caused the cancellation of this year's Spring Carnival.

World Youth Day will run from July 15 and is expected to attract more than 100,000 pilgrims from overseas.

Post: 10458


Taking Canberra's Pulse; Youth-Day Beanies;
Gearing Up for Days in the Diocese

By Catherine Smibert

SYDNEY, Australia, NOV. 22, 2007 ( Among my many and frequent travels across this Australian land of late, I have been overwhelmed by the fervor of each of the 28 dioceses in the anticipation of World Youth Day. I look forward to giving you all a taste of what's to come via this column by highlighting the activities being coordinated by each diocesan group over the coming months.

* * *

The Capital

In his speech to the hundreds of young participants gathered in the hall of Canberra's Marist College, Archbishop Mark Colerige of Canberra-Goulburn told the group that, combined they all looked like "one big refresh button on a computer."

Archbishop Colerige was addressing his flock at the first annual diocesan youth summit -- "The Pulse" -- held Nov. 16-17 in Australia's capital city.

Though Sydney is where all the action will take place July 15-20, some 5,000 to 10,000 international pilgrims will have the chance to visit the Canberra-Goulburn Archdiocese for four days of activities leading up to the World Youth Day week.

The Pulse summit included sharing, singing, praying, preparing and "just having fun in the Lord," 20-year-old participant Liam Mackay told me while munching on a sausage sandwich, courtesy of the event directors.

He added that coming from Cooma - a more rural area of the region-- the event was a "fantastic opportunity to see what is on offer via the wider Church community, which you wouldn't necessarily have a chance to do in your own parish. So it's really given me a taste of what's to come at World Youth Day."

Executive officer of the WYD Canberra squad, Brett Anderson, explained why the summit was named The Pulse: "As in taking someone's pulse - seeing how they're feeling and then giving them the right medicine - Christ - to make their hearts beat more strongly again."

Accordingly, they received guidance from their archbishop who, in turn, set his benchmark in keeping with the standard of the original World Youth Day creator - Pope John Paul II.

The prelate told me: "One of the great insights which John Paul II had with World Youth Day was that young people aren't just the Church of the future as we often say they are -- but he understood that they are the Church of now.

"And we in Canberra are doing our best to support the acknowledgement that the Spirit is calling the young people to lead the Church into new and exciting territory in exciting new ways."

This is why Canberra-Goulburn has constructed its very own, customized phase-by-phase process to build on the momentum of World Youth Day before, during and after the actual event, taking up the theme "Seeking the Heart of Jesus."

The archbishop insists that, in fact, the formation programs being offered to the youth in the diocese are not just forming leaders for World Youth Day, but rather "leaders of the Church for the future of Australia."

* * *

Close-Knit Community

Down Under, while summer is just around the corner, it will be winter by the time the World Youth day pilgrims start arriving.

That's why hundreds of people across the Central West are knitting beanies for those who might not appreciate the weather report prior to arrival - and as a true sign of welcome.

The Bathurst Diocese will host over 1,300 pilgrims from Ireland, Brazil, Saint Lucia, France, the United States, Venezuela, Denmark, Germany, Italy and Canada a week before the official World Youth Day celebrations begin in Sydney on July 15.

Executive director of World Youth Day in the Bathurst Diocese, Gabrielle Sinclair, says the "Knitting Together Project" also serves to unite both the young and the older community.

"People of all ages around the region are knitting orange beanies in solidarity, with our Bathurst logo on them, which was designed by two students from the diocese," Sinclair explained.

And, in true World Youth Day spirit, the unique venture has already received a great response from the whole community.

Jill McKenzie is one of the knitters using her skills to contribute to the largest Catholic youth event in the world. "I got involved with this project, as knitting is something that I can actually do, so it allows people like myself who aren't particularly involved in the nitty-gritty of the organization of this massive event to lend a hand -- literally."

Kathy Bowman is coordinating the knitting in the cathedral parish and says the 60 volunteer knitters from around Bathurst have done a great job so far.

Both McKenzie and Bowman see World Youth Day as a good opportunity for the Bathurst Diocese to join together and appreciate their faith.

According to Sinclair, that is the idea behind the project: "It's about knitting together on many levels, connecting as community and sharing our skills, to create something practical as a gift of love and a prayer to both our own pilgrims and our international guests on their journey."

* * *

Singing is Praying Twice

In the lead up to World Youth Day 2008, contemporary music with a Catholic flavor is playing a key role in conveying the messages it aims to present.

Paulini, key performer of the official theme song "Receive the Power," identified why this is the case.

"Music is something that everyone loves and it brings them together," she told me.

Composers of the song agree. Guy Sebastian and Gary Pinto told me what an honor it is to witness the potency of the Gospel when presented in song.

Sebastian, past winner of Australian Idol, hopes that the song "will further help to cement the message of this amazing event into people's hearts" and that "through singing 'Alleluia, receive the power,' the youth will know that it is not through our own talents that we do this, but by the power of God. ... Nothing is impossible to his Holy Spirit."

Pinto extends an encouraging hand to all young Catholic musicians and artists consistent with the call of John Paul II in his Letter to Artists (1999), saying that as musicians "we are in the vocational service of beauty. What greater beauty to be presenting to people than that of God? It's so humbling and spiritually rewarding to be able to give the gifts he gave us back to him."

And other groups have stepped up to the call in turn -- not just the big names.

The Emmanuel Worship band is a group of musicians from Brisbane, Queensland, who produce music ministry for every youth meeting -- whether it be highly liturgical or punk rock. The troupe has been involved in spreading the World Youth Day message around Australia, via the animation of a series of events with the cross and icon journey.

Mass Revival is another worship rock band that has been lending its gifts in the preparatory stage of the youth event. The band won the 2004 YELL! Catholic songwriting competition, presented to them by Cardinal George Pell.

I discovered that the members of both groups have deeply experienced the effectiveness of music as a tool for spreading Christ's message.

Patrick Keady, keyboardist and composer in the Emmanuel Worship group, told me: "In music ministry, what we are trying to do is communicate an age-old message, which has seemed dead, but it's not; it is fresh, alive and vibrant.

"Music is a universal language that everyone gets. When you speak this language, it helps the transition from an old generation to a new generation who needs to rise up and take their place in history. And it does it in a way that they understand."

As Christian bands producing a similar sound to that of popular culture, they seek to take advantage of particular styles of music to help others experience Jesus.

"The beginning point definitely has to be a personal relationship with Jesus," said 23-year-old Bernard Drumm, guitarist from Mass Revival. "There's no point in being a Christian if you don't understand that you need to have a personal relationship with Jesus. So our objective is to motivate all to follow Christ and to try to understand the joy and hope that is in him and that will help us live the faith."

These two Christian bands, as Catholics, also try to allow people to see another face of Catholicism.

"A lot of young Catholics have been brought up with many misconceptions about the Church and its teachings," said Drumm, a seminarian. They think that it's something from yesterday that doesn't relate to today."

"As Catholics," he continues, "we seem to spend a lot of time defending our beliefs and trying to explain ourselves into oblivion ... rather than just allowing the joy we find in it to inspire the core of the hearts of others so they may begin their own search for that Truth which is the source of our joy."

Of course, in the context of World Youth Day, music is helping promote the event itself, as well as the Church.

The drummer for the Mass Revival band, Michael Campbell, feels that "the sense of sharing that music provides is representative of what's to come at World Youth Day when you have so many people from different cultures and languages coming together, singing and dancing in the Lord."

Lead singer of Mass Revival, Daniel Foster, added: "World Youth Day shows you are part of a huge Church and that this is an event showing that we are one Church holding an event for our young people in Australia, and even non-Catholics will see that this is really something.

"When people hear our name Mass Revival they seem to think that we are lobbying for a revival of the Mass, but that's not the case, as much as we are seeking a revival en masse for our Catholic communities.

"So as each of us musicians and artists use our gifts in conjunction with the Holy Spirit, in God's name and for his sake, we pray that he use us to assist in refreshing and reviving our Church here in this great southland and across the world."

* * *

Catherine Smibert is a freelance writer in Sydney, Australia. She can be reached at

00Wednesday, March 19, 2008 3:07 PM

Originally posted in NEWS ABOUT THE CHURCH on 1/5/08:

Latin Mass Catholics Prepare
for World Youth Day 2008

Brooklyn, NY, Jan. 4 (PRWEB) - A youth movement for Catholics devoted to the classical form of the Roman liturgy (the so-called "Latin Mass") is planning to attend World Youth Day 2008 in Sydney, Australia.

Juventutem derives its name from a Latin word for "youth" and is a multi-national organization dedicated to the daily sanctification of young Catholics through traditional devotions and liturgy.

Pope Benedict has recently advocated a wider use of the Latin Mass in the Church in his papal letter "Summorum Pontificum," and devotion to this "extraordinary rite" of the Roman liturgy is growing.

One of the most surprising news stories to come out of World Youth Day 2005 in Cologne, Germany was the presence there of a group of young Catholics, numbering some 1000-strong, who were worshipping God using some of the oldest rites in the Catholic Church - including the Tridentine (or "Latin") Mass.

This multi-national group called itself "Juventutem", a term which appears at the beginning of the pre-Vatican II missal of the Catholic liturgy: "Introibo ad altare Dei. Ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meam," meaning "I will go up to the Altar of God. To God, who gives joy to my youth."

Newspapers and magazines covered the story of these unusual young people who were so devoted to the ancient traditions, music and devotions of the Catholic Church.

Cardinal Francis George (USA), Cardinal George Pell (Australia), Bishop Fernando Arêas Rifan (Brazil) and Archbishop Raymond Burke (USA) were among those Church dignitaries celebrating liturgies and leading devotions for Juventutem in 2005, which were often attended by WYD pilgrims coming from other groups to participate in the beautiful Masses and experience Gregorian chant.

Although 2005 was the beginning of Juventutem, much has happened in the intervening three years. It is now not so unusual to hear of a group of people devoted to the classical form of the Roman liturgy in the Catholic Church.

In July of 2007, Pope Benedict issued a papal letter entitled Summorum Pontificum, in which he advocated a wider use of these liturgical books in the Church. One reason for doing so, in fact, was the widespread devotion to these liturgical forms by young Catholics throughout the world.

"Immediately after the Second Vatican Council it was presumed that requests for the use of the 1962 Missal would be limited to the older generation which had grown up with it," the Holy Father writes in his letter to bishops accompanying Summorum Pontificum. "But in the meantime it has clearly been demonstrated that young persons too have discovered this liturgical form, felt its attraction and found in it a form of encounter with the Mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist, particularly suited to them."

Juventutem and other groups devoted to what Pope Benedict has now termed the "extraordinary form" of the Roman Rite are not the curiosity they once might have been in 2005.

Juventutem has now become an international youth movement whose goal is the daily sanctification of Catholic youth through Roman traditions. A contingent of Juventutem members will meet this summer in Australia for WYD 2008, and the organizers plan a 2-week long schedule of religious and cultural events.

Juventutem USA has organized a WYD 2008 group package, led by Rev. Fr. Denis Buchholz of the Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest. This priestly order, founded in 1990, is entirely devoted to the liturgical forms of the extraordinary rite. Fr. Buchholz was part of Juventutem at WYD 2005 and is currently pro rector of Old St. Patrick Roman Catholic Oratory in Kansas City, MO.

The schedule of events includes daily Mass according to the extraordinary rite; lauds, vespers, and compline on most days; catechesis and rosary; attendance at the Papal Mass; and of course, some days to explore Australia. All Catholics aged 16-30 are welcome to join the group.

For more information on joining Juventutem USA in Australia for WYD 2008, please visit

Originally posted in NEWS ABOUT THE CHURCH on 2/19/08:

A reason to celebrate
Northern Daily Leader
(New South Wales, Australia)
Feb. 19, 2008

THE cross and icon, symbols of the world’s largest youth event Catholic World Youth Day, were greeted with a short ceremony in Parliament House in Canberra yesterday.

Sydney Archbishop Cardinal George Pell was joined by hundreds of school children and parliamentarians, including Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson, in welcoming the 3.8m cross.

Cardinal Pell said World Youth Day (WYD) – to be held in Sydney between July 15 and 20 – will be a “momentous and uplifting” event.

“The WYD cross and icon have visited parliaments around the world and their visit here is a reason to reflect,” Cardinal Pell said in parliament’s Great Hall.

“It is a moment to pray for justice, peace and equality in our country and a moment to acknowledge prayerfully those times in our history when the cross has not been faithfully borne by those who profess to follow Christ.”

The cross and icon have visited parts of the world coinciding with historic events - it was in Europe in 1985 before the fall of the Berlin Wall and Ground Zero in New York City in 2002.

“The icon and cross has reached another significant historic moment here,” Cardinal Pell said in reference to last week’s Parliamentary apology to the stolen generations.

Mr Rudd was greeted by cheers and loud clapping before he spoke on the significance of the event.

He said Australia was “honoured” to have Pope Benedict XVI visit this year for WYD, marking his first visit to the country.

The 40kg wooden cross was carried into the Great Hall by eight pallbearers, followed by four people carrying the 15kg icon.

The cross and icon have spent the past seven months travelling around Australia in the lead-up to WYD, accompanied by an indigenous message stick.

The message stick is an invitation to Aboriginal Australians to attend WYD from the indigenous people of Sydney – the Eora Gadigal people.

The ceremony included a Welcome to Country by Aunty Agnes Shea, a local Ngunnawal elder.

WYD was established by Pope John Paul II in 1986 as an annual event to reach out to young people.

The Sydney event is expected to attract 500,000 people.

00Wednesday, March 19, 2008 3:07 PM
00Wednesday, March 19, 2008 3:07 PM

3/17/2008 2:40 PM
Post: 12425

Pope's welcome to Sydney
to take place on harbour

SYDNEY, Mar. 17 (AFP) - Pope Benedict XVI will cruise Sydney's famous harbour as part of his official welcome to Australia's biggest city in July, organisers said Monday.

The head of the Roman Catholic church will tour the harbour on a 63-metre (208-foot), three-storey cruise ship, which will be accompanied by 12 other boats, as part of his July 17 welcome to Sydney.

The Pope will make his first visit to Australia as Pontiff to take part in the July 15 to 20 World Youth Day which is designed to bring young people from around the world together to learn about the Catholic faith.

Sydney World Youth Day coordinator Bishop Anthony Fisher said he expected more than 100,000 people to line the harbour to greet the pope who will alight at Darling Harbour.

"We're yet to settle exactly where on the boat he'll be but I think that we can be confident that all of Sydney will get to see him," he said.

"He'll also get to drive in the popemobile when this is over in a motorcade through the city," he said.

"People will see him in both situations but this is a spectacular kind of popemobile," he added of the cruise ship, which has undergone some security modifications to cater for the pontiff.

NB: In August 2005, Pope Benedict also entered the city of Cologne for WYD by coming down the Rhine in a cruise boat.

Pope Benedict will enter
Sydney by sea

By Michelle Cazzulino
Daily Telegraph (Sydney)
March 18, 2008*

IN the distance, workmen operating heavy machinery are overseeing the last of the demolition work at Barangaroo.

The site is yet to be cleared completely, but it is here, on the foreshores of Sydney Harbour, that up to 150,000 Australians are expected to get their first glimpse of Pope Benedict XVI when he visits the city later this year.

World Youth Day organisers yesterday unveiled the "boat-a-cade" - a flotilla of 13 vessels that will accompany the Pontiff when he sails under the Harbour Bridge as part of the five-day event in July.

His Holiness will travel on the Sydney 2000, operated by Captain Cook Cruises, before being met by a waiting Popemobile.

He will then be driven about 200m to where a raised altar will be set up on Barangaroo, ahead of a welcoming ceremony for him.

Later, a waiting motorcade will escort the head of the Catholic Church on a tour around Sydney.

Details of his journey are still being finalised and are expected to remain a closely-guarded secret for security reasons.

Youth Day co-ordinator Bishop Anthony Fisher yesterday said he was delighted that so many Australians would have the opportunity to see Pope Benedict in person.

The Pontiff was, in turn, looking forward to seeing Sydney from his vantage point on the Harbour, Bishop Fisher added.

"The (Sydney 2000) is a spectacular kind of Popemobile," he said.

"The young people with flags representing all the nations of the world will gather with him on his way into Sydney Cove.

"Thousands will join the Captain Cook flotilla that follows and hundreds of thousands of young people will await him as he alights this vessel for the welcome ceremony."

Bishop Fisher said Pope Benedict himself, along with other officials, had been kept abreast of plans for the visit.

"Several Vatican officials, who have already been out to inspect the boat and the Harbour, were very impressed," he said.

"As usual, the arrangements involving any head of state, especially with the mystique of the Vatican, mean that the precise details of the Pope's arrival are still to be settled and will be announced much closer to the time."

Bishop Fisher said he thought it was unlikely that there would be a repeat of the last World Youth Day festival, during which thousands of Christians waded into the Rhine River in Germany in a bid to be closer to the Pontiff.

"Fortunately visitors to Sydney and Australia are well-briefed in advance about the dangers of sharks, crocodiles, razor-toothed platypuses and water koalas and so are unlikely to try leaping into the water to get closer this time," the Bishop joked.

However, boatowners were likely to turn out in force on the Harbour in a bid to get a glimpse of the Pope, Bishop Fisher said.

*NB: Sydney is 18 hours ahead of New York time, so it has been March 18 in Australia for some time now.

Pope 'boat-a-cade'
for Youth Day


HUNDREDS of thousands of pilgrims are expected to greet Pope Benedict XVI at Sydney's East Darling Harbour for World Youth Day in July.

Sydney World Youth Day coordinator Bishop Anthony Fisher said a flotilla of boats carrying youth representatives and Catholic Church dignitaries from around the world will accompany the Captain Cook Cruises Sydney 2000 boat carrying the Pope as it arrives on July 17 for the official papal welcome.

"Hundred of thousands of young people will await him as he alights (from) this ship at (newly named) Barangaroo Wharf," Bishop Anthony said on board the Sydney 2000 on Sydney Harbour.

"What a day it promises to be, especially if Sydney puts on its best and I have nuns all around this country praying for good weather for that day," Bishop Anthony said.

The Pope will cruise the harbour and will showcase Sydney to the world, he said.

He said the Church was confident adequate security arrangements would be in place to cater for the Pope's 13-vessel "boat-a-cade" and his four-day tour of city.

00Wednesday, March 19, 2008 3:18 PM

SYDNEY, Mar. 19 (dpa) - Sydney is taking its cue from the German city of Cologne and putting Pope Benedict XVI aboard a boat for his grand entrance to Australia's largest city for World Youth Day in July.

"It's going to be a spectacular event and one that will show up on the highlights on television at the end of the year," World Youth Day (WYD) spokesman Jim Hanna said Wednesday. "We are expecting up to 150,000 people to greet him at the wharf."

Cologne was the host of the last WYD pilgrimage in 2005 and the Pope sailed on the Rhine during his visit.

The boat commissioned for carrying the Pope on Sydney Harbour is the 63-metre Sydney 2000, which transported heads of state and other dignitaries during the Olympic Games in Sydney in 2000.

Organizers are keen to bring some Olympic flair to WYD and the pope's July 17 cruise aboard a vessel designated a popeboat is part of that endeavour.

"The Rhine is a narrow little river compared to Sydney Harbour," a rather uncharitable Bishop Anthony Fisher told reporters. "There'll never have been as spectacular an opening to World Youth Day as we'll have for the Pope's arrival here on Sydney Harbour."

After disembarking at Barangaroo, just east of Darling Harbour, (which up until a year ago was a container terminal) the Pope will get aboard the popemobile for a traditional motorcade tour of the city.

The highlight of his four-day visit, Pope Benedict's first visit to Australia, will be the closing Mass for an estimated 500,000 Catholics from Australia and abroad.

In terms of numbers there will be nothing for Sydney to boast about if its sums add up.

"It will be the smallest World Youth Day final Mass there has ever been," Hanna conceded. Cologne drew 1.2 million for its final Mass and Manila mustered 4 million in 1995.

00Wednesday, March 19, 2008 4:03 PM
00Thursday, March 20, 2008 8:36 PM

Sydney gets its holy marching orders
By Erik Jensen
Sydney Morning Herald
March 20, 2008

AT LEAST five kilometres of Sydney streets are expected to be closed for the Papal Welcome in July, as preliminary plans show the World Youth Day motorcade moving through parts of George Street and around Circular Quay.

The timing of the event, and whether it would clash with peak hour, has not been released.

A briefing paper prepared by the City of Sydney council - marked confidential but obtained by the Herald - showed the Pope sailing from Watsons Bay to East Darling Harbour before entering the Popemobile and making a winding arc to St Mary's Cathedral.

The route crosses parts of the city closed by the APEC summit, although a spokesman for the Deputy Premier, John Watkins, said the two events were fundamentally different.

"With APEC, the focus was on security for 21 world leaders," he said. "For World Youth Day, we'll be welcoming 225,000 registered visitors to our city in a spirit of celebration."

Police refused to comment on security and possible road closures and the RTA directed calls to a special unit set up by the Government to handle the event. Mr Watkins's office said closures would be advised as registrations closed and the numbers attending the event became more clear.

Shaded areas on the map showed walking routes along several blocks of George Street and through much of Macquarie Street, suggesting these areas may also be closed to accommodate pilgrims attending the welcome on July 17.

The organisers have said they expect at least 225,000 pilgrims at the welcome, though those figures could be made much higher by unregistered attendees - the number probably closer to 500,000.

In addition to the closures for the motorcade, parts of the Harbour Bridge are expected to be closed for the Pilgrims Walk on July 19.

Maps obtained by the Herald show the route crossing parts of Elizabeth Street and taking Anzac Parade to Randwick racecourse.

These streets are likely to close to accommodate the thousands of people making the walk from North Sydney to Randwick.

Tim Drake at the National Catholic Register has started a blog that covers both the US and Australia papal visits. Here is his comment on the above story.

More Complaints on World Youth Day

The assault on World Youth Day seems to be gathering more steam. Within the next two months I expect it to be in full-swing.

The Sydney Morning Herald obtained documents marked confidential that purport to show some of the routes being used during World Youth Day.

Not surprisingly, the article's primary concern is the potential disruption that the event may cause the city, rather than the opportunity the event presents.

We've already seen the pundits complaining about the cost. Christian Taylor, writing for the homosexual publication says that World Youth Day "is set to be more disruptive, more expensive and more tedious tha[n] APEC was."

While The Herald provides the map, reprinted at left, it doesn't put the map into any context whatsoever.

This map highlights the Holy Father's route from Barangaroo to the Cathedral, most likely on the day of the Pope's arrival. A somewhat similar route, in reverse, and ending in Darling Harbour's Cockle Bay will be used for Friday's "Way of the Cross."

One of the fascinating things at World Youth Day in Toronto was "The Way of the Cross" as it made its way through the city's major thoroughfares. Everything stopped, as the Cross went by. I can still recall seeing hospital employees coming out of the hospital, and apartment residents in their high-rises looking out their windows to watch the event in the center of their city.

Young people, wanting to keep up with the entire "Way of the Cross" ran with it from station to station, while others stood transfixed watching it on the large screen televisions set up at each station. One Canadian Television network broadcast the entire event live. It was impressive.

With the iconic backdrops of the Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge, and Darling Harbour, I'm anticipating that Sydney's "Way of the Cross" may be one of the most visually stimulating ever.

00Friday, March 21, 2008 12:26 AM

Crucial test for Australian Blessed
Adelaide Now
March 19, 2008

Campaigners urging that Mary MacKillop be recognised as a saint face a crucial audience with Pope Benedict XVI next month as they seek to prove she has worldwide appeal with Catholics.

Campaigners have revealed they will next month in the Vatican present the Pope with a dossier of evidence which aims to prove she has "worldwide devotion", despite her death in 1909.

Vice-postulator for the cause of canonisation of the Blessed Mary MacKillop, Sister Maria Casey, told The Advertiser although Mary MacKillop was the only Australian to be beatified she must be recognised beyond Australia to become a saint of the universal church.

"I will be letting the Pope know that there is a lot of worldwide devotion to Mary MacKillop and some amazing places like China and Russia," she said.

"It is not up to us to judge if that is sufficient, simply present the evidence."

Mary MacKillop established the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart, as well as the order's first school, in South Australia.

Sister Maria revealed despite Mary MacKillop's having died almost 100 years ago, cyberspace messages of devotion via email have come to the aid of the campaign.

Sister Maria said the evidence of devotion took the form of requests for prayers said at Mary MacKillop's chapel and accounts of prayers to Mary's being answered.

She said the dossier of devotion worldwide was not as significant as evidence of a second miracle needed before sainthood, but would help the campaign.

The countries from which the strongest evidence of devotion comes are France, Germany, Italy, Malta, Spain, Scotland, England, Ireland, Estonia, Egypt, Kenya, Vietnam, Laos, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan and Cambodia.

"Her chances of becoming a saint of the universal church are very high, when she is ready, when the Church is ready and when Australia is ready and we can't always determine that on a human level," Sister Maria said.

Sister Maria said the search continued for proof of a second miracle.

Some details of the three most significant medical cases which may prove to be miracles were confidential but Sister Maria said one involved a cancer victim who had been given weeks to live, a second involved a child with MS and a third a child cancer victim.

It must be determined that a miracle has occurred before the evidence is passed on to the Vatican.

Blessed Mary McKillop is one of the Ten inspirational figures officially named as patrons of WYD-SYD.

Ten inspirational people named
patrons for World Youth Day
March 19, 2008

Ten inspirational saints and blesseds have been named the official patrons for World Youth Day Sydney 2008 (WYD08).

A tradition of each World Youth Day, the 10 patrons have been chosen by the organisers and approved by the Vatican. An Australian artist, Richard de Stoop was commissioned to recreate their images.

"When deciding who should be the patrons, we focus on who would inspire young people," said Bishop Anthony Fisher OP, Coordinator WYD08.

"Not only do we look to saints, but those who are waiting to become saints - blesseds - and those who have had a particular influence on Australia's and Oceania's history.

"We ask everyone to learn their stories, and understand that ordinary people can do extraordinary things through the Spirit of Christ.

"We particularly urge young people to get to know and pray with our patrons," he said.

The patrons will be focused on during some of the major events, including the Evening Vigil at Randwick Racecourse.

The images are available online at the WYD08 Photo Gallery:

Sydney will host the 23rd World Youth Day from 15-20 July. Organised by the Catholic Church but open to all, WYD08 is expected to attract 500,000 to the Final Mass, presided by Pope Benedict XVI.

WYD08 is the first visit by Pope Benedict XVI to Australia.

The ten WYD08 patrons are:

1. Our Lady of the Southern Cross, Help of Christians

Mary, Virgin and Mother is the perfect model for all women and also for men. She said her great YES to God while still a teenager. She is the Patroness of Australia, under the title "Help of Christians" and the patron of the Archdiocese of Sydney whose Cathedral is called St Mary's. Her title ?Our Lady of the Southern Cross? emphasises local devotion to her in Australia and Oceania.

2. Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati (1901 - 1925)

The charismatic Blessed Pier Giorgio is revered for his social activism, sporty nature, sense of humour and generous spirit. Born into a wealthy, influential but unreligious family ? his agnostic father became Italian Ambassador to Germany - Pier Giorgio joined the St Vincent de Paul Society in 1918 at 17, committing his spare time to the sick and needy.

He joined student organisations, opposed fascism and established a daily newspaper. He died of polio at the age of 24.

His family were amazed to see thousands of mourners lining the streets for his funeral, many of whom were the poor and needy he had served selflessly. They in turn were stunned to learn this generous and humble youth was from such an important family.

3. Blessed Mary MacKillop (1842 - 1909)

Mary MacKillop was a servant of poor and uneducated youth, the founder of the Sisters of St Joseph. Beatified by Pope John Paul II in Sydney in 1995, she established an incredible legacy with her generosity and determination to respond to every need with Christ's charity across our great continent.

4. Saint Peter Chanel (1803 - 1841)

Peter Chanel was a French missionary priest, martyred on the Island of Wallis and Futuna, Oceania. When he arrived, there were only a few thousand people due to the tribal wars and the practice of cannibalism. The locals were deeply engrossed in a religion that involved the worship of terror, offered to evil deities.

Peter gained a following of locals and as a result was beaten and tortured and killed by a fatal axe wound to the head. His body was taken back to France and Rome via New Zealand and Australia, where it rested at Villa Maria, Hunter?s Hill Sydney for two weeks.

5. Blessed Peter To Rot (1912 - 1945)

Peter To Rot was a married layman and a native of Papua New Guinea. A brilliant and intuitive catechist, this father of three was martyred "for the faith" and in defence of Christian marriage in a Japanese concentration camp at the end of World War II, aged only 33.

6. BlessedMother Teresa of Calcutta (1910 - 1997)

Mother Teresa of Calcutta has been, for many, the female face of the modern Catholic Church. In serving the people abandoned by society, the poorest of the poor, Mother Teresa put love into action.

In 1950 she started the Missionaries of Charity whose mission was to care for all those who had been rejected by society and suffered physically and emotionally as a result.

7. Saint Therese of Lisieux (1873 - 1897)

Was the youngest 'doctor' (i.e. teacher) of the church at 24 years and a one time patroness of Australia. Therese applied to become a Carmelite nun when she was 15 years old. Initially refused, she travelled to Rome to personally ask the Pope, who allowed her to enter a year later.

She viewed God as a tender loving Father who was pleased with even the smallest acts of charity. She had an almost perfect trust in God, even an audacious confidence in Him.

8. Saint Maria Goretti (1890 - 1902)

Maria Goretti was an 11 year old Italian teenager who refused to compromise her sexual purity to a lustful acquaintance of her family, a man who eventually brutally murdered her. She forgave him on her deathbed. He eventually converted to Christianity by her witness, and amazingly stood by Maria's mother at the canonisation.

9. Saint Faustina Kowalska (1905 - 1938)

Born and raised in Poland, Faustina first felt the call to the cloister from very young. Her parents pressured her not to join the convent at 18 but in a vision of the Lord suffering He asked her 'How long shall I put up with you and how long will you keep putting Me off'?

She was finally accepted into Sisters of Mercy and from the age of 20 onwards, Faustina worked as a cook, gardener and doorkeeper at the convent. While her life in many ways was ordinary, she spoke closely with Our Lord and Our Lady, and recorded these conversations with them in her diaries, which were only published after her death. The modern devotion to the Divine Mercy comes from her. She was the first saint canonised in the 21st century.

10. Servant of God, John Paul II (1920 - 2005)

Servant of God and the father of WYDs, Pope John Paul II visited Australia in 1986 and 1995. He is the still much loved inspiration for a generation of young people who will feel his presence and seek his intercession during WYD08. He is remembered for his dedication to young people, opposing Communist oppression and helping to reshape the world.


Body of charismatic young Blessed
to come to Sydney for WYD
March 19, 2008

Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati will be in Sydney for World Youth Day Sydney 2008 (WYD08) - the first time his body has left Turin, Italy since his death in 1925.

The charismatic Blessed Pier Giorgio is revered for his social activism, sporty nature, sense of humour and generous spirit.

"His youthful good looks, charm, fun-loving nature and dedication to God and humanity make him the perfect inspiration for young people," said Bishop Anthony Fisher OP, Coordinator of WYD08.

"Pier Giorgio loved sport, horseriding, mountain climbing - and practical jokes."

Born into a wealthy, influential but unreligious family - his agnostic father became Italian Ambassador to Germany - Pier Giorgio joined the St Vincent de Paul Society in 1918 at 17, committing his spare time to the sick and needy.

An extremely passionate social activist, Pier Giorgio joined student organisations, opposed fascism and established a daily newspaper.

His great acts of charity included donating his graduation money to an elderly woman evicted from her apartment and supporting a sick widow's three children.

In 1925 Pier Giorgio was afflicted by an acute attack of polio, which doctors speculated he caught from the sick that he tended. He died at the age of 24.

His family were amazed to see thousands of mourners lining the streets for his funeral, many of whom were the poor and needy he had served selflessly. They in turn were stunned to learn this generous and humble youth was from such an important family.

It was these people who petitioned the Archbishop of Turin to begin the cause for canonisation, a process started in 1932. He was beatified on 20 May 1990.

"The Catholic Church's practice of venerating the relics of Christ's saints is a sign of its faith in the resurrection of the body and its belief in the goodness of the body," Bishop Fisher said.

The coffin of Blessed Pier Giorgio will be placed in St Mary's Cathedral during WYD08.

Sydney will host the 23rd World Youth Day from 15-20 July. Organised by the Catholic Church but open to all, WYD08 is expected to attract 500,000 to the Final Mass, presided by Pope Benedict XVI.

00Thursday, April 24, 2008 8:00 PM

Welcome to God's mosh pit

Linda Morris
Sydney Morning Herald
April 25, 2008

It was eight years ago in a crowded park on the outskirts of the Vatican that Melissa Dwyer arrived abruptly at the crossroads of her life. One path offered to take this promising Australian javelin thrower and Olympic aspirant to Athens, the other to missionary life as a Catholic nun.

Dwyer joined more than 2 million young Catholics who had gathered for World Youth Day, dubbed Catholicism's Woodstock, to attend Mass in the presence of Pope John Paul II.

The pop star Pope had invoked Catherine of Sienna's exhortation to personal good: "If you are all that you should be you can set the whole world ablaze."

"I still remember those words. They have stayed with me," Dwyer says. "They challenged me to respond and from there I had an opportunity to put into practice that inspiration with a month's missionary work in Africa and that concreted my desire to be with the poorest, to be in service for God."

Six months later she entered the first stage of formation for religious life with the Canossian Daughters of Charity in Brisbane and ended all dreams of Olympic glory.

"In Rome there was such an overwhelming sense of community. I could look around and see it, feel it," she says. "The church was more than just me, there were a lot of young people who were passionate about their faith. In Australia our faith is so hidden but in Rome it was so contagious.

"I was training for the Olympics, it was my dream since I was five and I tossed that all on its head. I went to World Youth Day in October and by February I had entered the order. I'd come to realise that I hadn't stopped loving the sport but I loved God more.

"God is very much alive in my life, God is someone I can talk to and feel the presence of, my God is a god of love and acceptance and inclusion.

"I'm sure that World Youth Day helped me to stop and listen to that voice."

WORLD Youth Day is the late John Paul II's vision of Catholic evangelism for a new millennium, a public affirmation of the universality of the Catholic Church, a means of inner spiritual revival and an exhibition of mass worship for youth, many of whom have drifted from a church of mainly ageing baby boomers.

There have been nine such events, the last drawing more than 1 million worshippers to Cologne, Germany, in April 2005. Next stop will be Sydney in July when the less charismatic Pope Benedict XVI will play to adoring audiences half that size, in part due to travel distances.

There is little by the way of hard evidence that the days are successful in arresting falling rates of church attendance or prompting a flood of applicants to the depleted ranks of the priesthood.

That's partly because there has not been any comprehensive study into the impact of such an event; partly because inner transformation is hard to measure.

But Dwyer's story is not uncommon. There are dozens of testimonials from priests, brothers, deacons and religious women around the world who say that the first inklings of a vocation came to them at World Youth Day.

And wherever World Youth Day plays, the legacy can be seen on other fronts, church officials say: in strengthened parish youth groups, an influx of Catholic renewal groups led by laity and renewed evangelical energy.

World Youth Days are big business. By all accounts, Sydney's will cost more than $200 million, sucking up $15 million of the church's own money in Sydney and more than $160 million in taxpayer money and subsidies. Budgets have not been helped by the last-minute compensation package paid to secure Randwick Racecourse as the venue for the closing Mass.

But as the Vatican commentator John Allen once noted, to the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, George Pell, it is a small price to pay to challenge, if only for a week, the powerful social currents that press youth towards secular conceptions of identity and satisfaction.

In a nation founded by Protestants, Catholics comprise more than one-quarter of Australia's population of just over 20 million. Most of Australia's 5.1 million Catholics never attend Mass, let alone Confession. The younger generation considers religion important, but doesn't equate faith with going to church.

The latest national church data has yet to be released, but is likely to confirm the number of active Catholics attending Mass is in steady decline and now represents fewer than 14 per cent of all Catholics.

Pell describes the expression of faith in Australia as vital in places like Sydney but sees many areas of Australian life as hostile or indifferent to Christ's claims.

"Australia's religiosity is like the curate's egg: good in parts," he says.

World Youth Day then, for Pell, is about stamping on Australia's secular character the face of faith in as spectacular, passionate and theatrical fashion as possible.

He is looking for a bounce in the number of seminarians studying for the priesthood, currently 47, and a renewal in women's religious orders; he wants to arrest the decline in regular churchgoing and increase the number of census Catholics [in Sydney] from 29 to 30 per cent.

For Australian church reformers, such as Paul Collins and Father Daniel Donovan, World Youth Day is an expensive sideshow that blinds the Vatican to an urgent agenda of critical assessment and church reform. While Collins sees benefits in enhancing the church identity of the young, both see World Youth Day as an attempt to revive the importance of the universal church and person of the Pope, an attempt to go back to the future.

"There is an assumption that commitment to the person of the Pope will get the church back to the halcyon days of 1950s when the seminaries and religious congregations were full," says Donovan, an academic at the Australian Catholic University.

"However, it is not possible to turn back the clock when there has been cultural and generational changes which were not envisaged in the 1950s. The bishops have very much the idea that they are still talking to generation Y's parents, or even members of generation X, but the truth of the matter is that the audience has changed.

"Spirituality, rather than religious affiliation, seems to be the defining characteristic for these young people who possess a 'more individualised picture' of the ultimate reality as benign and caring but reject the God of institutional religion.

"The research would suggest that after July 31, 2008, there will not be a resurgence of vocations to the priesthood and religious life, nor will the Sunday Masses be full. Ultimately, the Sunday congregations will be the greying baby boomers, as now. Vocations will be largely filled by widows and widowers, divorcees and refugees from the boardrooms in their second journey."

In his latest treatise on Australian Catholicism, Believers: Does Australian Catholicism Have A Future?, Collins, a former priest, is equally sceptical: "Perhaps for a tiny minority it will be a life-changing event but most will revert to their previous patterns of existence … with a lingering positive memory of living Catholicism.

"World Youth Day will do little to confront the real issues facing the Australian church, nor will it bring about the kinds of change needed to push local Catholicism in the direction of renewal. Fundamental change doesn't occur through spectacular events but only through deep reflection, careful planning and a willingness to tackle deep-seated problems."

Collins and Donovan say there is passive resistance to World Youth Day among parishioners and clergy and suspicions of the "bells and whistles" approach to this papal visit. Collins says most lay Catholics he speaks to describe it as an expensive folly.

Donovan says priests have been expected to provide funds and accommodation and to rally support among their people while largely being frozen out of the planning process.

"World Youth Day has deepened the divide between Sydney Catholics and their Archbishop. Catholics are beginning to withhold their money from parishes and the Charitable Works Fund," he says.

"There is a growing trend to send their money to groups like the Salvation Army because they do not want their money to be wasted. Older Catholics are asking about the relevance of the World Youth Day's lasting impact on the wider Catholic community and have been mortified by the public interchange between the church and the trainers at Randwick. The faithful have preferred to blame the incompetence of the organisers rather than to believe that there were untruths involved."

Donovan finds support from the German sociologist Weibert Gebhardt. His studies of young people who went to World Youth Day in Cologne did not suggest it was giving lasting new momentum to the German church. The gathering, impressive as it was, remained a one-off event that did not propel people to become more deeply involved in parish life.

"I would be very cautious with any theory of revitalisation," he said a year after Cologne.

But an Australian Catholic academic, Richard Rymarz, says we should not underestimate World Youth Day's value just because it is big and flashy and populist.

"It's well worth a try. It does address a problem of giving young people an entree into an adult Catholic world and it seems to me to give some type of answer to the questions of why be religious, why be Catholic. World Youth Day gives a taste of a much broader Catholicism and it allows young Catholics a strong, affective experience."

There are signs that young Catholics, he says, may have become impatient with the conservative-liberal divides on everything from celibacy to the revival of the Latin Mass.

Rymarz holds the chair in religious education at St Joseph's College at the University of Alberta, Canada, and works with many Catholics who came to the church when World Youth Day was held in Toronto in 2002.

"Every 17-year-old is not concerned about questions of church governance or an endless discussion of whether priests can marry but what they are looking for and respond to is a sense of community," he says. "What young people want is a place where they feel welcome, that here is an authentic message I've not heard before and can be life-changing."

Rymarz wrote one of the few qualitative studies of Australian World Youth Day pilgrims and concluded that World Youth Day is an effective evangeliser of active Catholics.

Come World Youth Day Rymarz will be helping on a study called "Pilgrims' Progress 2008". It will explore the experience of participants in the World Youth Day week of events in Sydney. The study profiles who is going to the day, why they are going, their level of civic engagement, what they experience, and what are the outcomes for different types of participants.

His in-depth interviews of 19 Australian participants after their return from Cologne found almost all considered their faith strengthened. Half reported an increased involvement in their parish or in faith-based activities in school. Religious faith took on a more personal aspect, with participants more willing to talk of their faith to friends and family. World Youth Day gave them an awareness of the global scope of Catholicism.

Religion becomes more plausible if it is seen as a global phenomenon with enthusiastic adherence from many cultures, Rymarz says. World Youth Day makes it easier to be Catholic.

"In some ways World Youth Day is akin to an immersion experience in Catholic ritual and practice for many youth who have little background in what once were common features of everyday Catholic life," he says.

But the church needs to get serious about reconnecting with youth and providing peer-based youth groups that can help in the transition to adult faith, he says.

"We need to be careful, not to place unrealistic expectations on World Youth Day. To me one fair test of the impact of World Youth Day is whether it facilitates supportive communities that met the needs of younger Catholics. For example, at many universities there is no longer a Catholic student group."

The existence of Catholic youth groups was instrumental when university student Sarah Collins returned from World Youth Day in Cologne re-energised in her faith.

Collins was a cradle Catholic, raised in the church, compelled by devout parents to attend Sunday Mass but during her rebellious teens she left the church discouraged, only to find her way back via World Youth Day.

"If there was a God, I thought, he would do his thing and I would do my thing, and hopefully the two paths would never collide," she says. "That was my life until I moved to London in 2005. My sister and friends were all going to World Youth Day so I looked on it as an opportunity to party and travel as opposed to going for religious value, which I thought was stupid. I thought of skipping the Mass with the Pope and going to Spain earlier.

"In Rome I said to my friends 'I'm not going to do this because they are all going to be Jesus freaks and that's not my scene.' [But] I stayed and I remember watching the pilgrims getting off the bus and [me] being tormented inside, and finding them normal and content with their lives, and it took me back.

"I was in Assisi and I just had this amazing experience. I went up to the hermitage where St Francis lived and experienced the most profound peace for the first time in a long time. I remember sitting in the forest and I thought I could be a nun.

"By the time I walked onto Marienfield [Cologne] I was so excited. There was great camaraderie, everyone waking with the same purpose in solidarity. That night was the first experience of adoration, there was 1.2 million people and you could hear a pin drop."

For his part, Pell says the archdiocese is not going to "impose a straitjacket on the movement of the spirit after World Youth Day".

"We will continue to work for spiritual renewal in our schools, work to strengthen the university chaplaincies and our Catholic university campuses and establish an interactive website for young Catholics. We are looking to establish a new retreat centre to be used especially by young people."

But Pell is hoping the Pope can show Catholics, even briefly, what it is like to be truly united by faith.

"World Youth Day is not magic and we have never claimed it will be a cure-all. Even many of the sceptics will be pleasantly surprised and moved by the sight of many tens of thousands of happy, hopeful and faith-filled young adults among us," he says.

00Tuesday, April 29, 2008 3:13 AM
Benedictions on our fair city

Anthony McCarthy
The Sydney Morning Herald
April 28, 2008

From today, it is 80 days until the Pope arrives in Sydney and it's time for public discussion to move on.

It is true that there has been considerable public money ($86 million) committed to supporting World Youth Day but the governments have done their sums - 200,000 pilgrims coming to Sydney from across Australia and the world represents an economic spike of about $230 million. This far outweighs any estimated public expenditure, so World Youth Day pays for itself.

The accountants are beaming, so should the rest of us - here's why.

The origins of World Youth Day 2008 can be traced to a bid document presented at the Vatican in late 2001 by a young Sydney horse vet, Mark Schembri, who was on his way to a work trip in Dubai. This bid was put together by a group of six Catholic students and young adults of which I was one, and was accompanied by a petition launched at Sydney University only days after Dr George Pell was appointed Archbishop of Sydney. The petition gathered more than 1000 names on the first day and 10,000 within a month. The Vatican commended us for our enthusiasm and noted that to date this was the only "youth bid" it had ever received.

Two years later Cardinal Pell submitted a bid supported by the NSW and federal governments, and in August 2005 Pope Benedict announced that World Youth Day 2008 would be held in Sydney.

The event is the brainchild of Pope John Paul II. At World Youth Day 2002 in Toronto, Canada, John Paul was extremely sick and frail but insisted on walking upon his arrival. I still remember the unlucky machine driver who missed his opportunity to wheel the holy father off the plane because the Pope decided to walk the stairs instead. We were amazed.

Toronto ultimately proved to be John Paul's final gathering with the youth of the world, though his death in 2005 incredibly proved to be a blessing for World Youth Day: following only months after the papal funeral and conclave, World Youth Day 2005 in Cologne was hugely successful both as a tribute to John Paul and a welcome to Benedict - the first German Pope in 500 years.

World Youth Day in Sydney will also have many highlights - the opening Mass at the Hungry Mile (a new harbour site near Darling Harbour), the Youth Festival in dozens of locations across the city including the CBD and Sydney University, Benedict's "boat-a-cade" arrival, and the moving Way of the Cross from St Mary's Cathedral to Darling Harbour via the Opera House.

And all of this is before the finale on Sunday, July 20 - World Youth Day itself - when more than 400,000 people from across Sydney, Australia and the world will gather at Randwick Racecourse for the papal Mass. This event alone will be the largest gathering of people in Australia's history.

Although it seems unbelievable, there are more international guests coming for World Youth Day than came here for the 2000 Olympics. More than 100,000 pilgrims will fly into the country and they will be joined by another 100,000 from across Australia.

In common with all Sydneysiders, I can never forget the two weeks when we hosted the Olympic Games: the inspiring opening ceremony, the wonderful transport, the buzz around the town, Cathy Freeman's amazing victory. And like so many of us, I, too, was wishing we could do it all again sometime.

World Youth Day is not the Olympic Games but in some ways it is more participatory - even for non-religious people. The vast majority of our Olympic visitors were athletes or media personnel who were here primarily for competition or coverage, not cultural exchange. For Youth Day pilgrims it is different as they are encouraged to share the experience with their hosts (in this case the Australians), to encounter other cultures and to celebrate the nations of the world gathered together in peace.

Everyone is welcome and you won't even have to attend any of the events to enter into the spirit. It will be found at every train station, bus stop or inner-city street. From the moment the pilgrims start arriving in Sydney, it is only a matter of time before we hear Brazilians singing or Italians chanting or see young German, American or English pilgrims meeting up with the Maltese, the Mexicans, the Malaysians and the Melburnians. The celebration will begin the moment they touch down at Mascot and will continue until everyone flies out a week later.

Benedict's visit to the US last week was a great success. It went so well that it has provided some of the best international news to emerge from the US in the past few months. The attentions of the "papal paparazzi" will now turn to Sydney where we can expect as much international attention and more, especially considering the Pope will be here for World Youth Day, the largest gathering of young people on the planet.

The Pope and the pilgrims are coming and for one week this July, Sydney will again be the place to be.

Anthony McCarthy is co-ordinator of Towards 2008, the national student and young adult campaign for World Youth Day 2008. He led groups of Sydney pilgrims to World Youth Days in Toronto and Cologne.

World Youth Day promises
$5m bonus for country towns

by Michelle Cazzulino
Daily Telegraph
April 28, 2008 12:00am

REGIONAL NSW (New South Wales) will receive a $5 million boost from World Youth Day, with as many as 18,000 international visitors set to descend on towns across the state in July.

The State Government will today release projections for the five-day event, which will culminate in Pope Benedict's first visit to Australia.

Government World Youth Day spokeswoman Kristina Keneally said that, although much of the focus would be on Sydney, the effects would be felt across NSW.

The Sydney Chamber of Commerce estimates the Catholic festival will inject $231 million into the state's economy, including spending on food, transport and other attractions.

Ms Keneally said many international pilgrims had already indicated their intention to use the trip Down Under to see other parts of Australia as well.

Under the Days in the Diocese program, 5000 pilgrims would travel to Goulburn/Canberra and about 2000 to Wollongong, she said.

Broken Bay would host as many as 1400, while Wagga Wagga would receive 650 and Wilcannia-Forbes an extra 400.

"People from places like Venezuela, the UK, Brazil, France, Germany, South Africa, Lithuania and the US will visit local businesses and attractions, enriching their experience of Australian life and culture, before their journey to Sydney for the main events," Ms Keneally said.

"These are young, happy people who are motivated to travel.

"We want them to come here, have an enjoyable and rewarding experience and consider metropolitan, regional and rural NSW when they are making future plans for travel, work and study."

Bathurst Mayor Paul Toole said locals were looking forward to welcoming the 1300 international visitors who would be in the area as part of World Youth Day.

"The pilgrims wanted to help out by being part of an environmental program and planting 2000 trees while they're here," Mr Toole said.

"The Bathurst community, and the youth in the area, are certainly looking forward to welcoming them.

"The many schools in the area have already sent out billeting information, so there'll be plenty of people participating in it."

In Armidale, Mayor Peter Ducat said residents were preparing for the arrival of as many as 500 pilgrims.

"We met with World Youth Day organisers fairly early in the year to work out the logistics and accommodation and other issues that are relevant to the city," Mr Ducat said.

"It's great for our city to see that number of people coming here and for Armidale to have the opportunity to be a part of it."

00Thursday, May 1, 2008 1:06 AM

Numbers on track for World Youth Day

Sydney Morning Herald
April 30, 2008 - 11:49PM

Sydney's World Youth Day is "well on track" to bring 225,000 pilgrims to the harbour city, organisers say.

Some 123,000 pilgrims from overseas and within Australia have already registered for the July event, which will mark the first visit to Australia by Pope Benedict XVI.

"We are on track to achieve our estimated number of overseas pilgrims," Youth Day chief operating officer Danny Casey said in a statement.

So far, 93,000 pilgrims from overseas and 30,000 from within Australia have registered for the event, which runs from July 15 to July 20.

Confirmed registrations have come from several international bishop conferences including 11,000 from Italy, 3,000 from Poland, 3,800 from France, and 3,000 from Germany.

An additional 17,000 international members of the NeoCatechumenal Way are "in the process of completing" their registrations, organisers say.

The top 10 countries by registration are Australia, the US, Italy, Germany, the Philippines, New Zealand, Spain, France, Mexico, and Canada.

"Our advice from Rome is that the typical scenario of past World Youth Days is that the majority of pilgrims register in the last few months," Mr Casey said.

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship has processed 21,000 visa applications, with 4,000 applications still awaiting approval and an additional 25,000 have started their visa process through the Youth Day website.

Organisers have dismissed past reports that the number of pilgrims will fall short of the expected 225,000 attendees.

The event's "smallest" gathering is likely to draw 150,000 people - that's for the opening Mass at Darling Harbour celebrated by Sydney's Catholic Archbishop, Cardinal George Pell, organisers have said.

For the concluding papal mass, some 300,000 will cram into Randwick racecourse, with a further 200,000 watching the event on giant screens across the road in Centennial Park.

The event is expected to bring $150 million to $200 million into the NSW economy and cost taxpayers $86 million.

00Monday, May 12, 2008 3:18 PM
00Monday, May 12, 2008 3:23 PM

Pope Benedict to make use
of 'texting' to spread
World Youth Day messages

SYDNEY, May 7 (AFP) - Pope Benedict XVI will give a new meaning to the term religious text by sending "inspirational messages" to mobile phones during Catholic World Youth day in Australia, organisers said Wednesday.

World Youth Day coordinator bishop Anthony Fisher said the 81-year-old Pope would go hi-tech at the July event, expected to attract hundreds of thousands of pilgrims to Sydney, by reaching young people "in their social space".

"We wanted to make WYD08 a unique experience by using new ways to connect with today's tech-savvy youth," Fisher said.

He said the Pope would send out daily inspirational messages to pilgrims in Australia, while catechesis -- religious instruction in the form of questions and answers -- would be broadcast on the web.

World Youth Day will also have an online social networking site and digital prayer walls will be set up at event venues.

"WYD08 will be the most innovative World Youth Day to date," Fisher said.

The Pope is due to arrive in Australia on July 13 and spend three days on holiday at a secret location before his official welcome to Sydney at a harbourside ceremony on July 17.

He will spend three days celebrating World Youth Day then depart for Rome on July 21.

The first World Youth Day was held in Rome in 1986 and the event is now held in an international host city every two to three years. The last was in Cologne, Germany, in 2005.

Here's how a local Australian newspaper reported the news - points for most clever headline!

Dotcom all ye faithful,
Pell urges youth

PILGRIMS at World Youth Day will receive inspirational messages from Pope Benedict XVI via their mobile phones.

Giant television screens will be set up at event sites allowing pilgrims' text-messaged prayers to be shared.

The Archbishop of Sydney, George Pell, has taken his message of World Youth Day to YouTube, where he last night announced an online social networking site for pilgrims.

Cardinal Pell said World Youth Day in Sydney would be the most technologically advanced event the church has known.

"We have an ancient message but it has to be explained in terms that are comprehensible to all generations," he said.

Cardinal Pell said the Pope was keen to embrace new technology and virtual religion. The Vatican has its own web domain (.va) and Vatican Radio offers podcasts in eight languages.


Pressure grows for Pope
to apologise to
Australian sex abuse victims

By Linda Morris

May 8, 2008 [It is already May 8 in Australia]

THE Sydney bishop who helped write the Catholic Church's sex abuse policy in Australia has added his support for calls for Pope Benedict XVI to make a public apology to the Australian victims of sex abuse.

But Bishop Geoffrey Robinson, himself a victim of abuse, said it was more important that the world leader of 1 billion Catholics act on his promise, made first in the United States, to investigate the causes of abuse.

The Bishop of Maitland-Newcastle, Michael Malone, was reported to have raised in private the desire for an apology with his fellow Australian bishops.

"I hope the Australian bishops will quietly ask the Pope to to say something on the issue of abuse when he comes to Sydney," Bishop Robinson said.

"It would be wrong to ask that this issue were to push World Youth Day to the sidelines; nevertheless there would be many opportunities and I certainly hope he raises the issue. It was young people who were abused so it's not irrelevant to World Youth Day. From what I hear the things the Pope said in the United States and especially his meeting with victims did help."

NB: Last year, Bishop Robinson wrote a book that was very critical of the Church - the first printing reportedly sold out in Australia within hours of appearing in bookstores - and is coming to the United States on a tour to promote the book.

00Monday, May 12, 2008 3:23 PM
00Monday, May 12, 2008 3:23 PM

Online Christian soldiers!

May 13, 2008

IF you're looking for God, you may find him on the internet.

From video-sharing websites and church blogs to text messages from the Pope and digital prayer walls, it appears religion has well and truly made it into the 21st century.

Organisers of the forthcoming World Youth Day (WYD) are demonstrating how technology can be used to spread their Christian message. During the six-day Catholic festival Pope Benedict XVI will send daily text messages to the mobile phones of more than 225,000 pilgrims.

"They will be inspirational messages to the pilgrims, focusing on the theme for that day," a WYD spokeswoman said.

Pilgrims will also use their mobile phones to send prayer text messages to digital prayer walls at event sites. "The digital prayer wall will be at our major prayer sites, where pilgrims have the opportunity to text message a number with their prayer and they'll see it appear on the screens," the spokeswoman said.

WYD organisers are also jumping on the online social networking craze, with the development of their website.

Xt3, which stands for Christ in the third millennium, will allow pilgrims attending WYD to connect online during and after the event. While some may say that these types of technology have been around for several years, it demonstrates how religions such as Christianity are looking at ways to better connect with their younger audience.

"We're living in a technological age where young people are very much tech savvy," the WYD spokeswoman said. "They're on YouTube, MySpace, Facebook and their mobile phone, so this is a good way for the church to interact with people, keep its message alive."

Last month, another faith-based social networking website named FaithTrip was launched.

It allows users to share their views and experiences, through blogs, forums, video and music, with an emphasis on religion and faith. "It's a great long-term online communications strategy to service the communication needs of the enormous church community," Australian Catholic Bishops Conference spokesman Bishop Peter Ingham said at the website's launch last month.

"It's also vital that the youth in search of meaning can be met and can meet us via the tools they're comfortable with."

A quick search of mainstream websites such as MySpace reveals many Christian groups forming online. These include Mark 15:2 (142,255 friends), Australian Christian Teens on MySpace (98,667) and Hillsong church (23,941).

When it comes to video websites, the biggest Christian one has got to be GodTube. Instead of YouTube's Broadcast Yourself motto, GodTube cleverly asks you to Broadcast Him.

Recently, the website received $US30 million ($31.9 million) in funding from hedge fund GLG Partners. The website is now said to be worth $US150 million.

But for those looking to save themselves a trip to church, think again. For Catholics at least, there are several sacraments you need to still participate in.

"This is by no way replacing traditional mass - it's another avenue the church is using to communicate with people," the WYD spokeswoman said.
00Monday, May 12, 2008 5:03 PM

Also posted in POPE-POURRI:

Dollar coin to mark
Pope's Australian visit

By World Coin News
May 12, 2008

Pope Benedict XVI will make his first trip to Australia in July as part of the Catholic Church's World Youth Day 2008. The Perth Mint has issued a $1 commemorative coin to mark the occasion.

Sydney is this year's host city for the worldwide event, first held in Rome in 1986.

The 30mm, one-ounce coin is struck from aluminum bronze and features a color depiction of the Pope and a representation of the official "WYDSYD08" logo in color.

It bears Perth Mint's "P" mintmark and is inscribed with "World Youth Day" and "Sydney 2008" around the main design. The piece has a mintage of 500,000.

World Youth Day 2008 will be held July 15-20. The week-long activities culminate with a mass celebrated by the Pope on the last day, the actual World Youth Day. Organizers say the event will attract more than 125,000 international visitors.

For more details and ordering information for the commemorative coin, visit

00Wednesday, May 14, 2008 12:41 AM

God's big day out
a shambles

By Alan Gold

May 14, 2008

This is another foretaste of what this newspaper, Australia's oldest and, from the looks of it so far, constitutionally anti-Catholic, of the hatchet job it is trying to do on WYD-SYD!

IN July, Sydney will be visited by Benedict XVI, spiritual father to one billion Catholics and occupant of the world's oldest seat of government. Yet with just weeks to go before the visit, insecurity, top-level resignations and a growing sense of doom have turned the organisation of World Youth Day 2008 into a potential nightmare.

Organisers of this vast operation are comparing the Pope's visit to the 2000 Olympics, but this is hardly a valid analogy. A huge team of experts spent eight years ensuring that the Sydney Olympics ran like a well-oiled machine. The same can't be said for the organisation of the Pope's visit.

Despite assurances from the organisers, most of the extensive preparatory work needed to ensure the health, welfare and safety of the hundreds of thousands of pilgrims who will descend on Sydney has still to be undertaken.

And almost nobody contracted to the organising body is willing to speak on the record.

Construction, staging, logistics and traffic experts cannot conceive how such a huge infrastructure involving such a multitude can be put together in a safe working condition in a matter of weeks.

The most critical, public and potentially perilous of all the events at which pilgrims will gather to meet the Pope is the 29-hour vigil at Randwick, in which more than 300,000 men, women and children will participate; and that doesn't take into account the additional 200,000 who haven't been able to acquire tickets and will be at Centennial Park, just across the way.

This huge mass will need access to toilet, washing and other facilities, yet preparation at Randwick has only just begun. Experts believe that the number of toilets required during the vigil period is 5000. The organisers aren't bringing in Portaloos but are constructing temporary facilities. A reticulated sewerage and water system will plumb into Sydney Water's infrastructure, yet with just weeks to go there is no sign of a toilet city.

Another significant problem for the organisers is the many kilometres of steel railing at Randwick. A spokesperson for World Youth Day says the crowd will be divided into manageable pods of about 2500 to avoid the likelihood of crowd crush. Yet there is a danger, according to crowd control experts, that excitement could create a surge, which would have devastating effects on those standing at the railings, resulting in potentially horrific injuries.

Then there's the potential damage to the Randwick racetrack. With 300,00 pilgrims tramping across the hallowed turf for a day and a night, serious protection will be needed for the racetrack to ensure the safety of the thoroughbreds that will be racing once the Pope returns to Rome. Experts are far from convinced by assurances given by the NSW Government and World Youh Day organising committee that all will be well at the races.

In September the track has to be ready for the Spring Carnival, the premier event at Randwick, during which owners, jockeys and bookies turn over up to $100 million.

The NSW Government is growing .4ha of new turf to replace any that is destroyed and is laying artificial covering, but it's still largely guesswork.

If the Spring Carnival has to be cancelled, the NSW Government is committed to compensate the Australian Jockey Club, which could cost tens of millions more than the Government is already spending on the papal visit.

So why is such a vast sum being spent on a private function? The church will be the beneficiary of the millions of dollars in ticket sales, but the federal and state governments seem to be handing out money like confetti at a wedding.

At the end of April, the NSW Government said it would spend $86million in the hope of earning $150 million to $230 million. But unless the influx of tourists happens, the costs are likely to soar and the income likely to drop.

The NSW Government has assumed that the state will emerge as a net beneficiary from the tourist dollars the influx of global pilgrims will spend while they're here. This is based on assurances given by the Catholic Church that 125,000 international visitors will flock to our shores to be part of the event. With only weeks to go, the local organisers for the church refuse to disclose the numbers of those who have applied. Only recently, a mere 16,217 special visas had been granted. Bulk bookings still have to come from several countries, but the Department of Immigration has said that June 1 is the cut-off point to guarantee passage of the visas.

And because schools are being asked to accommodate the visitors, hotels and guesthouses will be much the poorer.

Unlike previous World Youth Day locations, such as Cologne, Paris or Rome, Australia is a long way from Europe and the US. These cities boasted millions of pilgrims at the final papal mass, but the local Catholics greatly outnumbered those from other countries. In Sydney, no doubt, there'll be vast numbers of local Catholics, but will the revenue they generate be as much as international visitors would spend?

What is missing is sophisticated project planning.

Yet a project planner has been appointed only recently.

Unlike the thoroughbreds that thrill visitors to Randwick, there are no horses galloping to the papal finishing line. Instead it looks like a flock of sheep, wandering around in all good faith.


It's hard to believe that an organization run by Cardinal Pell can be so inept on the most basic arrangements, as this article pictures it.

00Saturday, May 17, 2008 5:14 PM

Pope's visit as good as gold

Heath Gilmore
Sydney Morning Herald
May 18, 2008

POPE Benedict XVI will leave Sydney with some serious bling after his World Youth Day visit.

Society jeweller Nic Cerrone and a team of his staff have for months been engaged in top-secret work - to create three commemorative pieces for the Pontiff, who arrives in Australia in July.

Rumours have circulated Sydney's Italian community that the pieces - a chalice, Communion plate and vessel to hold Communion hosts - are valued at more than $1 million.

Yesterday Mr Cerrone scoffed at the figure, but refused to give another one.

Church sources said the amount was about $120,000, with Mr Cerrone paying half and a private benefactor chipping in with the balance.

The A-list jeweller - fresh from creating a huge engagement ring for model Lara Bingle, who is set to wed Australian cricketer Michael Clarke - said he approached the Catholic Church two years ago with the offer of a papal gift.

He thought a large, jewel-encrusted crucifix would be ideal but after talks with church leaders, including Sydney Archbishop George Pell, he settled on the three pieces. They will be loaded with precious Australian metals and jewels, including rose, yellow and white gold and cognac and Argyle diamonds.

Mr Cerrone said the pieces represented the pinnacle of his career.

"I am in this country because of the Catholic Church," he said. "I was born in a small village in Italy and when my father wished to leave to make a better life for his family the church helped them to this country.

"We could have ended up in America, Brazil, Argentina or South Africa. Instead, we joined the Italian community in Australia and prospered.

"I wanted to celebrate that journey and make some very major pieces which celebrate this country. The pieces are very ornate with maple leaf and rose gold and the jewels from this country."

The Pope is expected to use the pieces for the closing Mass and vigil at Randwick Racecourse on July 20.

00Monday, May 19, 2008 2:36 PM

Pilgrims turn Randwick racetrack
into tent city on World Youth Day

By Michelle Cazzulino

May 19, 2008

IT is usually Sydney's premier racing venue, but Randwick Racecourse will be transformed into Australia's tenth-largest city during World Youth Day later this year.

The festival's organisers said an estimated 225,000 pilgrims would take part in an evening vigil on July 19, sleeping out overnight ahead of a final mass celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI the following day.

"For the evening vigil, we'll need to accommodate an overnight population bigger than the Northern Territory," a World Youth Day spokesman said yesterday.

"We expect the overnight population will double in the morning as Sydneysiders arrive to join the pilgrims who slept out overnight."

More than 300,000 people will fill the racecourse for the final mass and a further 200,000 or more will participate from Centennial Park, with the two venues united for the event as the Southern Cross Precinct.

Workers will install 35 large video screens and more than 60 lighting towers ahead of World Youth Day.

A total of 4000 toilets will also be built, with the facilities cleaned and shipped back to their manufacturer after the festival ends.

WYD director of event planning and operations Ian Steigrad said construction work had been under way at the site since April and was going well.

A series of food stalls and adoration tents, where pilgrims could "pray and reflect", would also be built before the event, Mr Steigrad added.

"All work is being carried out in accordance with our agreement to keep off the race tracks until mid-June; no construction is occurring on racing and training areas," he said.

"The pace of construction will step up five weeks before the event when we get exclusive access to the site."

WYD chief operating officer Danny Casey said Pope Benedict would pass through the entire precinct on the morning of the final Mass and communion would be distributed to those who wished to receive it.

00Wednesday, May 21, 2008 2:05 PM
Blessed Mary McKillop
Pope to Visit Tomb of Australia's Saint-In-Waiting

Blessed Mary McKillop

SYDNEY, May 20, 2008 -- Pope to Visit Tomb of Blessed Mary MacKillop

by Andrew Rabel

It was confirmed today that Pope Benedict XVI will pray at the tomb of Bl Mary MacKillop, when he visits Sydney in July for World Youth Day celebrations.

Mary MacKillop was a 19th century nun who was a pioneer of Australia's Catholic school system. Her misunderstandings with Catholic bishops of the time led to her excommunication (which was soon lifted) and later on banishment from the city of Adelaide, among other things.

This never stopped her from her tireless work in the order she co-founded, the Sisters of St Joseph on behalf of poor and abandoned children. MacKillop lived her concluding years in Sydney, where her burial spot in North Sydney is now a site of pilgrimage, already visited by Paul VI, and John Paul II when he came to the city to beatify her in 1995.

Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney said on the weekend however, that it is most unlikely that she will be canonized during the Holy Father's visit, despite the pleas of her many devotees.

According to Bishop Anthony Fisher OP, WYD08 Coordinator, "The Holy Father will visit the tomb of Blessed Mary MacKillop, one of WYD08's 10 patrons" [Other well known patrons include Our Lady Help of Christians, St Maria Goretti, St Faustina Kowalska, and Bl Pier Giorgio Frassati].

Fisher continued, "Mary MacKillop's story of serving the poor and uneducated is inspiring to all Australians and we hope she will also inspire the youth of the world".

This news was also confirmed by newly appointed papal nuncio to Australia, Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto, who said, "The Holy Father will be one of thousands of pilgrims who will visit her shrine in shrine in July."

Up to 10,000 visitors a day are expected to visit Mary MacKillop Place at 8 Mount Street, North Sydney during World Youth Day from July 15-20.

Mary MacKillop Place

The nuncio continued, "The pope will pray for Australia and the young pilgrims of the world so that they may be filled with the Holy Spirit and be witnesses to Christ."

This will be the first World Youth Day in Australia (and only the second in the Southern Hemisphere) and will mark the first visit of His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI to Australia, expected to attract several hundred thousand pilgrims from a number of countries.

00Sunday, May 25, 2008 3:55 PM

Catholic Youth Day won't see
APEC-style fences

SYDNEY, May 24 - New South Wales police say Sydney will not be fenced off during Catholic World Youth Day in the same way the city experienced during APEC last year.

Police have announced today some of the security arrangements for the July event which include about 4,000 officers on the ground for the Sunday celebrations.

Deputy Commissioner Dave Owens, who is in charge of security for the event, says Sydney will not see the same security fencing erected as was in place during last year's meeting of world leaders.

"We are not, and I'll put on record, we are not going to use APEC-style fencing across the board," he said.

"That's not what this event is about. This event is about the youth, and Christians and a whole range of other people coming together to celebrate the visit of the Pope."

Catholic Archbishop of Sydney Cardinal George Pell says he is confident the security around the Pope will be adequate.

Police have announced exclusion zones around Pope Benedict XVI for the opening mass and at Randwick but police do not believe they will need to invoke special powers.

Cardinal Pell says the security arrangements should be enough whatever the circumstances.

"If you've got people who are bad enough and determined enough they might cause a bit of trouble but our security forces are very, very expert," he said.
00Monday, May 26, 2008 2:49 PM

The following news items all come from the official site of WYD-2008.

Famous Australians get on board
for World Youth Day 2008

May 16 - Nine prominent Australians have been announced as official Ambassadors for World Youth Day Sydney 2008 (WYD08).

The Ambassadors have generously volunteered their public profile and time to help promote WYD08 around Australia in the lead-up to the July event.

The WYD08 Ambassadors are:

· Carla Zampatti, Fashion Designer

· Jared Crouch, AFL Sydney Swans player

· The Delezio family - Ron, Carolyn, Sophie and Mitchell

· Matthew Hayden, Australian cricketer

· Amelia Farrugia, Opera Singer

· Mark Bresciano, Socceroo Player

· Stephen Moore, Wallabies Hooker

· Jimmy Little, Musician

· Dr John Herron, Former Ambassador to the Holy See and Ireland, and Chairman of the Australian National Council on Drugs

The Archbishop of Sydney and Chairman of the WYD08 Local Organising Committee, Cardinal George Pell, said he was honoured to welcome aboard such a wonderful group of people as Ambassadors for WYD08.

"Our Ambassadors represent a variety of fields and have celebrated remarkable achievements in areas as diverse as sport, fashion design, charity work, musical performance and diplomacy," said Cardinal Pell.

"Their demonstrated abilities and history as impressive Australian role models make them ideal choices as the faces of this international celebration.

"I know that they will help us encourage all Australians - young and old - to get involved in World Youth Day and reap the myriad rewards that this magnificent event has to offer," he said.

Sydney will host the 23rd World Youth Day from 15-20 July. Organised by the Catholic Church but open to all, WYD08 is expected to attract 500,000 people to the Final Mass before Pope Benedict XVI on his first visit to Australia.

WYD08 construction progressing well
at Randwick Racecourse

May 19 - Construction work is well underway at Randwick Racecourse as Sydney prepares to host World Youth Day 2008 (WYD08).

The iconic venue will host the final two events of WYD08 on Saturday 19 July and Sunday 20 July. Those events are the Evening Vigil (Saturday) and the Final Mass (Sunday morning) - both in the presence of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.

More than 300,000 people will be accommodated within the racecourse for the Final Mass and a further 200,000 or more will participate from Centennial Park - united for the event as the Southern Cross Precinct.

WYD08 Chief Operating Officer Danny Casey said organisers were delighted with building progress and the final designs for the joint precinct.

"All our work at the precinct is progressing well and to plan. Attendees at the Vigil and Final Mass are in for a very special experience," Mr Casey said.

"Everybody is welcome to attend and share in what will be two very memorable events," he said.

WYD08 Director of Event Planning and Operations, Ian Steigrad, said workers have already built around 1300 of the 4000 toilets required for the precinct.

"The materials used - including the toilets themselves - will be re-used after WYD08. The toilets will be cleaned and shipped back to the manufacturer, while the melamine boarding will be reused locally," Mr Steigrad said.

"They're being built in blocks of 16 in the positions they'll occupy during the events.

"All work is being carried out in accordance with our agreement to keep off the race tracks until mid-June; no construction is occurring on racing and training areas.

"We're also working around the racing schedule to ensure training and competition continues during this phase of construction.

"The pace of construction will step up five weeks before the event when we get exclusive access to the site."

Mr Steigrad said workers will also install 35 large video screens and more than 60 lighting towers throughout the precinct.

Mr Casey said the Holy Father will pass through the entire precinct on the morning of the Final Mass and communion will be distributed to all parts of the precinct.

Sydney will host the 23rd World Youth Day from 15-20 July. Hosted by the Catholic Church but open to all, it will also mark the Holy Father's first visit to Australia.

World Youth Day 2008 releases
a great range of pilgrim offers

May 22 - To welcome 225,000 domestic and international pilgrims and celebrate Australia's largest ever event, World Youth Day 2008 (WYD08) organisers have announced a list of special pilgrim offers.

The special offers have been made in collaboration with a selection of Sydney's premier tourism, entertainment, automotive and telecommunications bodies.

· Telstra: a range of telecommunication options including commemorative $25 Pre-Paid Mobile Starter Kits and calling cards as well as $99 Pre-Paid Mobile Phone packs.

· AVIS: special pilgrim rates on a wide range of rental vehicles and a bonus free car upgrade.

· BridgeClimb Sydney: a special souvenir Climber cap for registered pilgrims who climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge between 6 - 27 July and book directly with BridgeClimb.

· Taronga Zoo: 50% off general admission tickets.

· Captain Cook Cruises: special pilgrim fares on over 20 Sydney Harbour cruises and rocket ferries daily during July. A special pilgrim dinner and lunch aboard MV Sydney 2000 (the boat upon which Pope Benedict XVI will arrive) is available throughout July 2008, excluding 17 July, from $49.

· Harvest Youth Tours: 60% off the regular retail price for the Self Inflating Pilgrim Mat + Sleeping Bag / SleepOut Solo-Tent, designed exclusively for the comfort of weary WYD08 pilgrims.

· The Australian Museum: special $10 concession package for WYD08 pilgrims, available from 1 - 30 July 2008. Package includes a variety of cultural and natural history exhibition offerings.

· Seymour Centre Theatre: generous discounts off ticket prices to see the smash hit musical comedy Altar Boyz! - a hilarious show about a struggling Catholic boy band looking for their big break.Pilgrim promotion available 11 June - 2 August 2008.

"These great offers have been made available by the generosity of WYD08's supporters and providers," WYD08 Chief Operating Officer Danny Casey said.

"Our visitors have a wonderful chance to enjoy some great attractions and services."

Full details and conditions are availableat

Sydney will host the 23rd World Youth Day from 15 ? 20 July this year. Organised by the Catholic Church but open to all, the event will mark the first visit of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to Australia.

00Monday, May 26, 2008 3:09 PM

What's in the WYD backpack?
Pilgrim tries to bag bargain

By Annabel Stafford, Sydney

May 21, 2008

THE contents of the World Youth Day pack, which will be given to pilgrims as they arrive in Sydney for the six-day Catholic festival, were to be a surprise.

But an enterprising young volunteer — believed to have received the pack as a thank-you — has revealed the secret by hawking it on eBay with a starting price of $30.

Pilgrims to World Youth Day, which runs from July 15 to 20, will get a funky backpack complete with a WYD heat-retaining foil blanket, torch — in case you get lost in spiritual darkness, perhaps — and discount card for McDonald's. There's even a WYD tattoo.

"Actually, it's just a transfer," said the man in charge of merchandising, Global Brands managing director John Moore.

He confirmed the pilgrim pack was not for sale but he claimed sales for official merchandise were going strong. The WYD clothing line — which includes a Corey Worthington-style fur-lined hoodie for the ladies — is on sale in Target stores in Sydney.

"I don't think we're supposed to be talking about sales," Mr Moore, also WYD director of business partnerships, said, "but we're getting … $200,000 to $300,000 now."

Limited-edition gold stamps with a $129.95 price tag have sold out, Mr Moore said. He said that while organisers were not expecting a "pin-trading phenomenon" of the kind that swept Sydney during the Olympics, there was expected to be demand for swappable items.

Manufacturers of official merchandise pay royalties to World Youth Day, Mr Moore said, and these would help pay for the event. The festival is expected to attract 125,000 international visitors to Sydney and it will bring Pope Benedict to Australia for the first time.

The Pope has a pilgrim pack but Mr Moore said he "very much doubted" he was behind the eBay venture. The item was removed from the site yesterday.

At the NCR blog, Tim Drake has more info about WYD backpacks:

Backpacks are a WYD tradition. In Toronto, pilgrims received a red over-the-shoulder style pack. In Cologne, it was a blue backpack.

Typically, the backpack features a pilgrim guidebook that includes the prayers and songs for the liturgical events, as well as maps; a WYD-cross of some type, a WYD candle for the Saturday evening vigil, a WYD pin (popular for trading), a rosary, a poncho in case of rain, a WYD handkerchief/bandana, and some snacks....

When I was in Australia last September, we were fortunate enough to see the volunteers who were making the WYD pilgrim crosses that will be included in each pilgrim's backpack. They're hand-made and hand-stamped, each and every one. I'll write more about them in an upcoming post, and post some photos as well.

00Monday, May 26, 2008 3:42 PM

I didn't see this story earlier, and it's obviously dated - but it has some details that were not in the news reports posted at the time.

Pope plans Sydney holiday
By Michelle Cazzulino

May 03, 2008

HE usually spends the July holidays enjoying the sun at his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, the picturesque Italian town 30km south-east of Rome. [Well, before Castel Gandolfo, he takes 2-3 weeks up in the mountains, too, as he will again this year when he gets back from Sydney. Clearly, the Aussie reporters need to do more homework.]

But yesterday the Vatican announced Pope Benedict XVI had elected to extend his visit to Australia later this year, making his trip Down Under the longest His Holiness has ever undertaken.

The decision means he will spend an extra three days "resting" from his jetlag at an undisclosed location before his first encounter with Catholic pilgrims in Sydney for the five-day festival.

World Youth Day co-ordinator Bishop Anthony Fisher said the church would be making arrangements for the Pope's additional three days, which he would spend "in or around" the city as part of his annual leave.

The Pontiff will arrive in Australia on July 13 and fly out again on July 21, the day after he celebrates Mass at Randwick Racecourse before an expected audience of up to 500,000.

"We want to make sure we find a place for him that is serene and beautiful, gives him a real Aussie experience and gives him privacy during that time - that's going to be really important," Bishop Fisher said.

"The holiday of the Holy Father is entirely the responsibility of the Church - it will be at the Church's expense - and there will be no imposition on anyone else."

While plans relating to the his official duties were still being finalised, Bishop Fisher said it was likely the Pope would meet with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd while he was in Australia.

"The Holy Father is here essentially for the young people of the world, so he'll be keeping to a minimum any other engagements, but he will, of course, respect the usual protocols in this area.

"(The papal visit) makes Australia part of a very exclusive club: outside Italy there are only three countries that have been visited by all three of the travelling Popes - Paul VI, John Paul II and now, Pope Benedict - and those countries are the United States, Turkey and Australia."

Newly-appointed apostolic nuncio to Australia Archbishop Giuseppe Lazarotto said anticipation among young Catholics was building ahead of the Pope's visit.

"I can only say from what I've seen...that there is a great expectation among our faithful and young people, of what our Holy Father will say and what he will tell them and even the way he will be with them," he said.

"I think they will be amply rewarded in that expectation."

After the Pope's three-day rest period, Cardinal George Pell said His Holiness would move to Cathedral House, adjoining St Mary's Cathedral, where he would remain for the duration of the World Youth Day festival.

While Cardinal Pell said major modifications to the grounds were unlikely beforehand, at least one change was being made prior to his house guest's arrival.

"I've scored, because I think I might get a new bathroom," he said.
00Monday, May 26, 2008 9:08 PM
Quiet few days in secret location - news from Andrew Rabel
WYD08: What has happened and will happen?

"You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses" (Acts 1:8)

SYDNEY, May 26, 2008 -- WYD08: What has happened and will happen?

by Andrew Rabel

(This is the second in a series of regular, exclusive reports on World Youth Day preparations by Australian Inside the Vatican correspondent, Andrew Rabel who will be reporting on WYD events from Sydney).

In an unprecedented move, Pope Benedict will holiday for three days in Australia before participating in World Youth Day events in Sydney, culminating in a final Mass to be celebrated by him at Randwick Racecourse.

According to Bishop Anthony Fisher OP, coordinator of WYD08, "We were asked to nominate a suitable location for his stay and have recommended somewhere serene, beautiful and suitable for the leader of the world’s Catholics. He will have the opportunity to see some of Australia’s beautiful flora and fauna."

In reply to speculation about the identity of the place Fisher replied, "We cannot, of course, disclose the location; he is a Head of State seeking private time and has asked that his privacy be respected."

Pope Benedict arrives in Sydney on Sunday, July 13, and will be immediately whisked away to his vacation spot. (On prior papal visits in 1970 and 1995, the pope came to the Philippines en route to Australia, but this time he will fly directly from Rome). He will be officially welcomed on the MV Sydney 2000 (Australia's largest cruiser) heading a boatacade arriving in Barangaroo from Circular Quay at 1 pm, on Sydney Harbour on Thursday, July 17, (then moving to the official spectator position on Goat Island), remaining in the city until Sunday, where he will reside at the official residence of Cardinal George Pell, Cathedral House, behind St Mary's Cathedral.

Since Paul VI began the tradition of pilgrim popes, after
World Youth Day, Australia will also have the distinction of having been visited by all three men (including John Paul II and Benedict XVI), along with the United States and Turkey.

This news comes on the heels of other positive developments for organizers that with 123,000+ pilgrims coming to WYD08 so far, registrations are well on track to achieving the long anticipated goal of 225,000 registered pilgrims, despite recent media reports that because of the rising Australian dollar and recent downturn in the US economy, there had been a large amount of cancellations among them.

The Top 10 countries (of over 170 participating) in order of the numbers of registration are: Australia, USA, Italy, Germany, Philippines, Spain, New Zealand, France, Canada, Poland.

Meanwhile the World Youth Day Cross and the icon of Our Lady (which has accompanied this since 2003) have been travelling throughout the nation, attracting crowds of up to thousands of people. Preparations are well in place for the activities of Days in the Diocese going from July 10-14 in a number of Australian and New Zealand cities, as a prelude to the events. Melbourne, in particular has a well organized Homestay program (of people taking in WYD pilgrims into their homes), which also is an integral part of the lodgings for visitors to Sydney, for this worldwide meeting of young Catholics.

WYD08 officially opens on Tuesday, July 15 with an opening Mass to be celebrated by Cardinal Pell, concluding with the final ceremonies at Randwick to be celebrated by Pope Benedict which is expected to attract a crowd of 500,000 people, the largest ever in Australia's history, to which everyone is invited, not just WYD pilgrims.

This venue (most well known for horseracing) which in the past has been an important site of all papal visits to Sydney, is hosting the final two events of WYD08 on Saturday 19 July and Sunday 20 July. Those events are the Evening Vigil (Saturday) and the Final Mass (Sunday morning) - both in the presence of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. The liturgy will be preceded by the regular WYD tradition known as the "Sleepout Under the Stars."

More than 300,000 people will be accommodated within the racecourse for the Final Mass, and a further 200,000 or more will participate from Centennial Park, to be known for the event as the Southern Cross Precinct.

Workers will install 35 large video screens, and more than 60 lighting towers, according to WYD08 Director of Event Planning and Operations, Mr Ian Steigrad. There will also be the construction of 4,000 makeshift public toilets, all part of an unprecedented logistical operation outdoing Sydney's hosting of the Olympic Games in the year 2000.

This will also require the employment of 8,000 volunteers, with whom Pope Benedict will hold a special audience.

The state government in New South Wales has even set up a temporary statutory body known as the World Youth Day Co-Ordination Authority, which has the responsibility to administer public transport, health, safety and security during the events, requiring the assignment of 4,000 police officers, who will be stationed at different points around the city.

Prominent Australians such as fashon designer Carla Zampatti, cricketer Matthew Hayden, and former prolife Senator John Herron, have been appointed as the official WYD patrons.

Each person will receive in their WYD pack, a sim card created by Telstra (official WYD08 communications carrier), which will enable Pope Benedict each day to send text messages to pilgrims.

WYD events will include morning catecheses at 300 locations throughout the city, the Youth Festival which will include a large Vocations Expo, (New York's Sisters of Life will be conducting a Life Expo at Darling Harbour) and the Stations of the Cross through the streets of Sydney, to be televised to a worldwide viewing audience of 1 billion persons. (SBS TV Australia well known in the country for its long commitment to multculturalism, is the host broadcaster). This will be covered by the presence in Sydney for WYD08, of 3,000 journalists and media organizations from all around the world. On the Saturday before the vigil, a 10 km Pilgrim Walk will begin from Mary MacKillop Place in North Sydney, over the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge (which will be closed to traffic), to Randwick.

Readers of Inside the Vatican will be pleased to learn that preparations are also well in place for Juventutem 2008 (employing the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite), a comparatively new WYD event, which will also include performances of Gregorian chant, and the celebration of traditional vespers by Cardinal Pell, in a parish church. Bishop Basil Meeking of New Zealand (who acted the role of Leo XIII in the movie Thérèse, one of the patron saints of WYD08), will conduct a catechesis for those attending.

Pope Benedict has requested to meet disadavantaged young persons living in Sydney, and will share a meal with 12 young people, coming from the different continents. He will also hold a special Mass in St Mary's Cathedral for invited seminarians
00Tuesday, May 27, 2008 2:05 PM

Posted yesterday (5/26) in NEWS ABOUT BENEDICT:

From the WYD-2008 official site today:

Pope Benedict to meet young people up close
in three very different settings

SYDNEY, May 26 - His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI will meet some of Sydney's disadvantaged young people during World Youth Day Sydney 2008 (WYD08), organisers confirmed today.

With 50 days to go until WYD08 begins, organisers also revealed that the Holy Father will share a private meal with 12 young people from around the world and hold a special Mass at St Mary's Cathedral with invited seminarians and young religious people.

WYD08 Coordinator, Bishop Anthony Fisher OP, said these occasions would allow the Holy Father to connect with young people from different walks of life on a personal level.

"The lunch will be a very special occasion for those 12 young people, especially the two Australians chosen to represent the host country," Bishop Fisher said.

Wilson and Ashby with Bishop Fisher infront of Sydney's St. Mary's Cathedral.

Thirty year old Teresa Wilson from Melbourne, a longtime volunteer with the St Vincent de Paul Society, said she felt blessed to be chosen to break bread with the Pope.

"It's an incredible honour to speak directly with the Holy Father and to meet young people from every continent at Australia's World Youth Day," Ms Wilson said.

Craig Ashby, a 21 year old Gamilaroi man and Sydney University student, said he was thrilled and proud to represent Australian and indigenous youth.

"Who would have thought a young bloke from Walgett would get the chance to have lunch with the Pope one day and represent all young Aussies?" Mr Ashby said.

Bishop Fisher said the 12 young people would include two people from each of the five continents plus one representative from Papua New Guinea and one from New Zealand.

"The mass for seminarians and young religious in formation will be a special event for those who have chosen to devote their lives to God and to the Church," he said.

"During the ceremony, the Holy Father will also bless and dedicate the cathedral's new altar. It will be a legacy for future generations and a reminder of this great event."

Bishop Fisher said the Holy Father had especially requested a meeting with some of Sydney's disadvantaged young people.

"Those he will meet are young people alienated from the many positive messages that WYD promotes. This will not be a one-off experience for them, but something that links them into the ongoing healing mission of the Catholic Church."

Bishop Fisher said the Holy Father would travel to an inner city suburb to meet the disadvantaged young people.

Pope Benedict XVI will make his first visit to Australia for WYD08. The event is expected to attract up to 500,000 people at some events from 15 to 20 July.

Sydney's countdown clock.


Sydney's Daily Telegraph now has a WYD site, with this catchy banner:,,5016672,00.html

00Tuesday, May 27, 2008 2:13 PM

Modern disciples to dine with Pope
for World Youth Day

By Michelle Cazzulino

May 27, 2008

AFTER spending countless hours in a soup kitchen feeding the poor Teresa Wilson's efforts were yesterday recognised by being invited to a meal with Pope Benedict XVI.

Along with 21-year-old Sydney university student Craig Ashby and 10 other youth representatives from around the world, Ms Wilson has been selected to attend the lunch, which will take place in Sydney during World Youth Day in July.

The event's organisers yesterday confirmed the Pontiff would hold a special Mass at St Mary's Cathedral with invited seminarians and religious youths.

He has also asked to meet a group of about 50 disadvantaged young people when he makes his first visit to Australia later this year.

WYD co-ordinator Bishop Anthony Fisher said the festival, which was expected to attract 225,000 Australian and international pilgrims to Sydney, was not just for "high-octane Catholics".

"(The Pope) will meet young people alienated from the many positive messages World Youth Day promotes," he said.

While those invited to the meeting were likely to come from troubled backgrounds, Bishop Fisher would not be drawn on the question of whether Pope Benedict would meet with Australian survivors of clergy abuse.

Speaking yesterday, Ms Wilson and Mr Ashby said they planned to "let (the Pontiff) do the talking" during the lunch.

Ms Wilson, a volunteer with St Vincent de Paul Society, said it would be an overwhelming honour to speak directly to the Holy Father.

"I just got a call from the Archbishop. Whenever the Archbishop calls its either really good or really bad. He said I had been invited to have lunch with the Pope, there was a few moments of silence then a lot of shouting," she said.

Mr Ashby said he was proud to represent Australian and indigenous youth at the event and would use the opportunity to raise some important issues.

Anglican leader won't roll out welcome mat
By Linda Morris
Religious Affairs Reporter

May 27, 2008

A LEADING figure of the Sydney Anglican Church says he will not welcome Pope Benedict XVI to Sydney but he does not begrudge taxpayer subsidies going to the Catholic Church for its global youth gathering.

The Dean of Sydney, the Reverend Phillip Jensen, the brother of the Archbishop, has defended the event, as well as state and federal governments that have contributed more than $120 million to help stage July's World Youth Day.

The outspoken leader of the Sydney Anglicans rejects papal authority and the Catholic Church's doctrine of papal infallibility in a guest editorial written for Christian evangelicals.

Referring to the Protestant reformation, Mr Jensen said: "There is nothing in modern Roman Catholicism that reduces our need to protest. They have not repented of their Reformation errors."

But while Mr Jensen said he would "not be welcoming the Pope, going out to see him or waving a flag" he did not "pray for rain on his parade".

Instead, he takes aim at secularists who argue that World Youth Day was too expensive and government funding would undermine the principals of the separation of church and state.

"Remember our Lord said that our Father in heaven sends sun and rain on friend and foe alike. This is God giving secular support. We should want our government to do the same."

He said Catholics had "every right to enjoy a gathering of their people" and it was "an honour for our city to host people from all over the world", even those with whom "we disagree".

"It is perverse to think that the Government is helping promote Roman Catholicism by assisting World Youth Day as they are. If this were the world Jehovah Witness day or the world yoga conference, the government support would be the same," he said.

Pope Benedict will host two ecumenical functions in Sydney, one with leaders of Christian faiths and the other with non-Christians including Buddhist, Muslim and Jewish leaders. The Sydney Anglican Archbishop, the Reverend Peter Jensen, and the Primate of the Anglican Church, Phillip Aspinall, will be overseas.

The Catholic Church also announced yesterday that the Pope would hold a special mass at St Mary's Cathedral attended by seminarians and young religious people, at which he will dedicate the new cathedral altar.

He will share a meal with 12 young people, including two Australians, Teresa Wilson, a long-time volunteer with the St Vincent de Paul Society, and Craig Ashby, a University of Sydney student of Aboriginal descent.

Mr Ashby said the Pope seemed a "humble man and a nice chap".

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