Jul 20, 2008 (CNA).- Pope Benedict departed Australia for Rome today after a
hectic eight-day stay, concluding his World Youth Day activities, blessing
Australia before taking flight at a farewell ceremony with the Prime
Minister (PM) Kevin Rudd, and other Australian civic leaders.
He entered into the airport hanger greeted with applause and surrounded by
Australian and Vatican flags.
The Holy Father thanked the Australian government and its authorities for
their support of the World Youth Day activities.
“The Federal Government and the State Government of New South Wales, as well
as the residents and the business community of Sydney, have been most
cooperative in their support of World Youth Day.”
“An event of this kind requires an immense amount of preparation and
organization, and I know that I speak on behalf of many thousands of young
people when I express my appreciation and gratitude to you all.”
Pontiff also thanked the pilgrims for having come to World Youth Day and
wished them a safe journey home.
“The principal actors on the stage over these last few days, of course, have
been the young people themselves.”
“It is they who have made this a global ecclesial event, a great celebration
of youth and a great celebration of what it is to be the Church, the people
of God throughout the world, united in faith and love and empowered by the
Spirit to bear witness to the risen Christ to the ends of the earth.
“I thank them for coming. I know that the young people, their families and
their sponsors have in many cases made great sacrifices to enable them to
travel to Australia. For this the entire Church is grateful.”
The Holy Father then received an address from Kevin Rudd, Australian PM.
Holiness, it feels very much that you have already become one with us…
Indeed, you have become one of us.”
The PM also announced Australia’s first ambassador to the Holy See, former
Australian deputy Prime Minister Tim Fischer.
“Your Holiness, I am confident that Mr Fischer, Ambassador Fischer as he
will be, will discharge this position with dignity and enable Australia and
the Holy See to be able to work together on the great challenges we face in
the world,’ he said.
At the conclusion of the brief ceremony, the Pope climbed the stairs in his
trademark red shoes to board the chartered Qantas 747, which will make a
brief fuelling stop-over in Darwin before arriving in Rome.
CITY, 20 JUL 2008 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father was taken by
helicopter from the heliport of Victoria Barracks to Centennial Park, a
public park in Sydney founded in the year 1888. From the park he travelled
by popemobile to Randwick Racecourse, making a circuit of the area as he
greeted and blessed the 350,000 young people from all over the world who
were gathered there to attend the closing Mass of 23rd World Youth Day.
During the Eucharistic celebration, the Holy Father administered the
Sacrament of Confirmation to 24 catechumens.
Referring in his homily to the theme of this World Youth Day - "You will
receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my
witnesses" - the Holy Father affirmed that "as the source of our new life in
Christ, the Holy Spirit is also, in a very real way, the soul of the Church,
the love which binds us to the Lord and one another, and the light which
opens our eyes to see all around us the wonders of God's grace".
Benedict XVI indicated that "the power of the Spirit never ceases to fill
the Church with life", explaining that "this power, the grace of the Spirit,
is not something we can merit or achieve, but only receive as pure gift".
love can only unleash its power when it is allowed to change us from within.
We have to let it break through the hard crust of our indifference, our
spiritual weariness, our blind conformity to the spirit of this age. Only
then can we let it ignite our imagination and shape our deepest desires.
That is why prayer is so important: daily prayer, private prayer in the
quiet of our hearts and before the Blessed Sacrament, and liturgical prayer
in the heart of the Church".
The Pope gave thanks to the Lord for the gift of faith, "which has come down
to us like a treasure passed on from generation to generation", and
especially for "all those heroic missionaries, dedicated priests and
religious, Christian parents and grandparents, teachers and catechists who
built up the Church in these lands". In this context he mentioned the names
of Blessed Mary MacKillop, St. Peter Chanel and Blessed Peter To Rot.
"Dear young people, let me now ask you a question. What will you leave to
the next generation? Are you building your lives on firm foundations,
building something that will endure? Are you living your lives in a way that
opens up space for the Spirit in the midst of a world that wants to forget
God, or even rejects Him in the name of a falsely-conceived freedom? How are
you using the gifts you have been given, the 'power' which the Holy Spirit
is even now prepared to release within you?"
by the Spirit, and drawing upon faith's rich vision, a new generation of
Christians is being called to help build a world in which God's gift of life
is welcomed, respected and cherished - not rejected, feared as a threat and
destroyed. A new age in which love is not greedy or self-seeking, but pure,
faithful and genuinely free, open to others, respectful of their dignity,
seeking their good, radiating joy and beauty. A new age in which hope
liberates us from the shallowness, apathy and self-absorption which deaden
our souls and poison our relationships. Dear young friends, the Lord is
asking you to be prophets of this new age, messengers of His love, drawing
people to the Father and building a future of hope for all humanity.
"The world", he added, "needs this renewal! In so many of our societies,
side by side with material prosperity, a spiritual desert is spreading: an
interior emptiness, an unnamed fear, a quiet sense of despair. How many of
our contemporaries have built broken and empty cisterns in a desperate
search for meaning, the ultimate meaning that only love can give?"
"The Church also needs this renewal!" the Holy Father exclaimed. "She needs
your faith, your idealism and your generosity, so that she can always be
young in the Spirit!"
Benedict encouraged the young people to open their hearts to the power of
the Holy Spirit. "I address this plea in a special way", he said, "to those
of you whom the Lord is calling to the priesthood and the consecrated life.
Do not be afraid to say 'yes' to Jesus, to find your joy in doing His will,
giving yourself completely to the pursuit of holiness, and using all your
talents in the service of others!"
Referring then to the Sacrament of Confirmation which he was about to impart
upon a number of young people, he asked those present to reflect upon the
significance of receiving the "seal" of the Holy Spirit. "It means", he
explained, "being indelibly marked, inalterably changed, a new creation". It
means "not being afraid to stand up for Christ, letting the truth of the
Gospel permeate the way we see, think and act, as we work for the triumph of
the civilisation of love".
Mon. July 21, 2008
Youth Day '11
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Confidence in Youth
Victims of Sexual Abuse before Leaving Sydney
Youth Day in Madrid, Pope Announces
Sun. July 20, 2008
Thanks for the
Confidence Shown in Young People
Spirit Is Silent Guide Toward Unity, Urges Youth to Believe in the Power of
Closing Mass Will Be New Pentecost, Urges Youth to Open Hearts to Spirit's
God's Proposal Brought Mary's Yes, Urges Youth to Stay Faithful as She Was
Sat. July 19, 2008
Apologizes to Victims of Sex Abuse by Australian Clergy
Welcomes You with Open Arms," Pope Tells Disadvantaged Youth
Sinners Are Best Christian Witnesses, Pope Tells Troubled Youths
XVI: Transform Your Lives by Accepting the Holy Spirit
Offers Community Life for Consecrated
Journey to Vigil Site, Sleep-Out
On a Boat With
the Pope: Unforgettable
Fri. July 18, 2008
the Young with Religious Values
XVI: Jesus Loves Those Who Make Mistakes
‘Catholic ghetto’ and be an Apostle, Archbishop Chaput challenges
calls on Christians to not see doctrine as divisive
lunch with the Pope at World Youth Day
Ecumenism Leads to Joint Eucharistic Celebration
Thurs. July 17, 2008
by Boat to World Youth Day, Tells Pilgrims: Christ Offers Everything
Bishops Hoping for Renewal
Half a million
people fill Sydney to greet Pope Benedict XVI on the first day of his
official WYD08 program.
Pope prays at
Blessed Mary Mackillop Shrine
Canadians pray and venerate relics of Pier Giorgio Frassati
Wed. July 16, 2008
Joy of Pilgrims Will Win over ‘Cranky’ WYD Protesters
Unsual Delegation: A Koala, Kangaroo and Python
Chaput Urges Sydney Youth to Shun ‘Part-time Christianity’
Tues. July 15, 2008
celebrates World Youth Day Opening Mass with over 140,000 people
World Youth Day pilgrims in video message
Sends First Text Message WYD Participants
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