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World Youth Day

Sydney, Australia

July 15 - July 20, 2008

The next World Youth Day will be in Madrid, Spain in 2011

Pope Benedict XVI posted a message on Xt3.com/Christ in the Third Millennium, the Catholic social networking site started during World Youth Day 2008:  "Dear Friends, fifty days ago we were together for the celebration of Mass. Today I greet you on the birthday of Mary, Mother of the Church. Empowered by the Spirit, and courageous like Mary, your pilgrimage of faith fills the Church with life! Soon I am to visit France. I ask you all to join me in praying for the young people of France. May we all be rejuvenated in hope!"

Pope Benedict XVI sent a thank you letter to Governor-General Michael Jeffery for World Youth Day 2008:

I hasten to express to you once more my deep gratitude for the affectionate reception which I received from you and all your fellow citizens.

I was honoured by the official welcoming ceremony at Government House and most appreciative of the personal welcome which you extended to me at your residence, Admiralty House.

Please also accept my heartfelt thanks for the many courtesies afforded me throughout my visit.

I am grateful to the various civil and military authorities of Australia as well as the residents and business people of Sydney whose spirit of collaboration helped to ensure the warm welcome of the pilgrims and the smooth progress of my visit.

May the Lord bless all of you abundantly for your kindness and hospitality.

Prince Guillaume, Prince Sebastien, and Princess Alexandra of Luxemburg attended World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia, incognito.

Pope Benedict XVI said during his vacation in the Alps, he reflected on World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia:

In the great metropolis of the young Australian nation, those young people were a sign of authentic joy, sometimes noisy, but always peaceful and positive.

Despite their large number, they did not cause disorder or any damage. To have fun, they did not need to engage in raucous or violent acts nor rely on alcohol and drugs.

How can one not contrast them to their peers who, searching for false escapism, consume degrading experiences that sometimes result in tragedy.

In his Sunday, July 27, general audience from his summer home in Castel Gandolfo in Albano, Italy, Pope Benedict XVI remarked of World Youth Day 2008 in Sydney, Australia, as "An extraordinary experience...the multicoloured mosaic created by the boys and girls from every part of the earth all reunited by one faith in Jesus Christ.  I still have in my eyes and in my heart this extraordinary experience in which I was able to meet the youthful face of the Church."

World Youth Day 2008 videos

Pope Benedict XVI at World Youth Day 2008 in Sydney, Australia, voiced concern about the environment;  "Perhaps, reluctantly, we come to acknowledge that there are also scars which mark the surface of our earth: Erosion, deforestation, the squandering of the world's mineral and ocean resources, in order to fuel an insatiable consumption."  Under Pope Benedict XVI, the Vatican has become carbon neutral.  Pope Benedict XVI restored 37 acres of Hungarian forest at the Vatican - destroyed during the Middle Ages - which gives off enough oxygen to compensate for the carbon dioxide the Vatican puts into the air.

L'Osservatore Romano
Pope Benedict XVI and his secretary, Monsignor Georg Gainswein, say the rosary at the Study Centre in Kenthurst, Australia, on July 14, 2008

Pope Benedict XVI and his secretary, Monsignor Georg Gainswein, say the rosary at the Study Centre in Kenthurst, Australia, on July 14, 2008

Pope Benedict XVI, an animal lover, petted a koala bear and scratched behind its ears.  The pope also saw a wallaby, a baby crocodile and a spiky echidna, all animals native to Australia brought to the pope from the Taronga Zoo.

Pope Benedict XVI arrived in Sydney a few days early to rest before the start of World Youth Day 2008:

First of all, I want to express my appreciation to all those who have offered so much of their time, their resources, and their prayers in support of this celebration. The Australian Government and the Provincial Government of New South Wales, the organizers of all the events, and members of the business community who have provided sponsorship – all of you have willingly supported this event, and on behalf of the young people taking part in the World Youth Day, I thank you most sincerely. Many of the young people have made great sacrifices in order to undertake the journey to Australia, and I pray that they will be rewarded abundantly. The parishes, schools and host families have been most generous in welcoming these young visitors, and they too deserve our thanks and our appreciation.

Catholic Iraqis have been denied visas to attend World Youth Day 2008 in Australia.  Chaldean Archbishop Louis Sako responds:

Your Excellency, what is the mood of the Iraqi young people who have been denied visas to participate in WYD?

It's natural to feel disappointed, but suffering always brings a sign of hope: On the occasion of World Youth Day, we have organised a gathering that will be attended by more than 5,000 young people from the northern dioceses of the country, including Kirkuk, Amadiyah, Erbil. This is an historic event because it highlights the desire of the young people to testify to their faith in spite of the difficulties and sufferings that they face; the Christian community is alive, and the witness offered by the young people is the result of a true miracle.

Indulgences for World Youth Day 2008

The Plenary Indulgence is granted to the faithful who will devotedly participate at some sacred function or pious exercise taking place during the 23rd World Youth Day including its solemn conclusion so that having received the Sacrament of Reconciliation and being truly repentant, they receive Holy Communion and devoutly pray according to the intentions of His Holiness.
 
The Partial Indulgence is granted to the faithful wherever they are during the above-mentioned meeting if, at least with a contrite spirit, they will raise their prayer to God the Holy Spirit so that young people are drawn to charity and given the strength to proclaim the Gospel with their life.

"How could they do it?" asked Queen Elizabeth of Great Britain when advised that Pope Benedict XVI will celebrate Mass during World Youth Day 2008 in Sydney at the Randwick Racecourse.  The horse-racing community is concerned about the track's readiness for the Spring Racing Carnival in September.

Pope Benedict XVI will confirm 14 Australians during World Youth Day 2008.

Pope Benedict XVI will leave Rome on July 12, arriving in Sydney on July 13 for World Youth Day 2008.  The pope will take three days as private time to adjust to the time difference and to see the flora and fauna of Australia.  While in Australia for World Youth Day, Pope Benedict XVI will visit the Shrine of Blessed Mary MacKillop. The pontiff is scheduled to depart Sydney on Monday, July 21.

Fiona Basile/Diocese of Melbourne
Surfers on Bell's Beach in Melbourne, Australia, take a moment to pray before the World Youth Day cross.

Surfers on Bells Beach in Melbourne, Australia, take a moment to pray before the World Youth Day cross on May 8, 2008

Organizers of World Youth Day 2008 in Sydney, Australia,  have established a fund for 100 Chaldean Iraqis to attend including bishops, priests, seminarians and youths.

Reuters, May 7, 2008:  "The Pope will text daily messages of inspiration and hope during the six-day Sydney event while digital prayer walls will be erected at event sites and the church will set up a Catholic social networking Web site akin to a Catholic Facebook."

More than 1,000 Filipino youths, joined by 20 youths from Hong Kong, will travel to Sydney for World Youth Day.

World Youth Day 2008 coordinator Bishop Anthony Fisher has a  plan to ensure sunny weather for the day Pope Benedict XVI celebrates Mass. "I have nuns all around this country praying for good weather for that day."

Mercedes-Benz will provide two M-Class-based popemobiles during Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Sydney, Australia, during World Youth Day 2008 in July.  Mercedes-Benz will also provide cars, busses, and vans for World Youth Day 2008.

New South Wales in Australia has passed temporary laws allowing police special search and seizure powers during Pope Benedict XVI's visit for World Youth Day in July of 2008.

Over 5,000 performers, artists, and community leaders have applied to World Youth Day 2008 in Sydney, Australia.

17 ships will meet Australia's largest cruiser bringing Pope Benedict XVI to Australia's shores in July for World Youth Day 2008.

World Youth Day 2008 pilgrims will receive a free, three-month visa to Australia.

World Youth Day 2008 organizers have issued a call for 2,000 young volunteer catechesis leaders.  World Youth Day Evangelisation Director Steve Lawrence said, "The ultimate goal of Catechesis is to guide, with the help of the Holy Spirit, the minds and hearts of the pilgrims."  300 bishops worldwide will hold catechesis sessions.

As of August, 2007, 184,800 pilgrims have rregistered for World Youth Day 2008.  There have been 50,710 Australian registrations and 36,171, American registrations, numbers 1 and 2.  The Australian government has allocated AUD $35MM for the event. 

Archdiocese of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, on World Youth Day: "The Prime Minister has been a very strong supporter of World Youth Day 2008, and we remain grateful for his personal commitment to the event and for the support of the government at all levels."

WYD08 Coordinator Bishop Anthony Fisher OP has invited all religions to participate in World Youth Day.  “Although a Catholic initiative, World Youth Days have historically had a positive impact on all faiths in the countries where they have been held. This was one of the key messages we wanted to convey.  I also asked them to consider taking part in interfaith forums and volunteering facilities such as large halls. Above all, we sought to assure them that World Youth Day is an opportunity for interfaith cooperation and renewal for all people of goodwill."

Responding to Bishop Fisher, the Australian Muslim community is offering its mosques and schools to World Youth Day 2008 pilgrims with a promise from Bishop Fisher that there would be no attempt to convert Muslims.  President Ikebal Patel of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils said, "I think as Muslims in Australia we want to demonstrate very positively we are part of the community. There is not inherently that much difference between Islam and Christianity, and this is an opportunity to educate the general community and Christian faith."

Pope Benedict XVI on World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia in July, 2008:  "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.  I know that already the ecclesial and government authorities, together with numerous young Australians, are working very hard to ensure an exceptional experience for us all. I offer them my heartfelt thanks."

Registration fees for World Youth Day 2008 will be based on the wealth of the pilgrim's country.  "The pricing structure insures that pilgrims from more affluent nations, including Australian pilgrims, share in a reasonable part of the costs of WYD08 and support pilgrims from less-affluent nations," said 2008 World Youth Day organizers.

Australian Deputy Prime Minister Mark Vaile announced all participants in World Youth Day 2008 will receive three-month visas: "A three-month visa will allow those visitors to explore more of Australia while they're here, and allows other parts of the country to share in the hosting of World Youth Day."

Guy Sebastian, winner of the first Australian Idol, wrote the song, Receive the Power which was chosen as the theme for World Youth Day 2008 to be held in Sydney.  Mr. Sebastian will perform the song for World Youth Day 2008.

 

 

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