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World Youth Day Sydney 2008 Media Events: Saturday 19 July

Friday 18 July 2008


World Youth Day is a pilgrimage, and an actual pilgrimage walk will be one of the highlight events tomorrow. The 10km journey will take place from North Sydney to Randwick.


Please find below the events and some highlights taking place tomorrow:


5.30am:                 Pilgrimage Walk commences
Pilgrims will make the three-hour journey to the Southern Cross Precinct (Randwick Racecourse) as they focus on the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. Entertainment at will begin at midday.


9.00am:                 Stations of the Cross Press Conference
“Jesus” and “Mary”. Media Briefing Room, IMC


9.30am:                     Dedication of the Altar

The Holy Father will dedicate a new altar and celebrate Mass with Australian bishops, seminarians and young religious in St Mary's Cathedral.


12.15pm:               Papal Lunch with Australian Bishops
The Pope will have lunch with Australian Bishops and members of the Papal entourage at St. Mary’s Cathedral House Reception Hall


12.00pm -              WYD08 Outdoor Concert Series


5.45pm:                 The WYD08 Outdoor Concert Series will rock the Southern Cross Precinct for pilgrims awaiting the Evening Vigil


1.30pm:                     International Cardinals Lunch

26 Cardinals from across the globe will meet at Terry Hills for a lunch     


7.00-9.00pm:         Evening Vigil with the Pope
The Evening Vigil will be a joyful and moving event, including a ceremony of candlelight and a representation of the 10 WYD08 patrons

Pope meets native Australian animals at Kenthurst Catechesis and Youth Festival kicks off

Wednesday 16 July 2008


Pope Benedict XVI today met special visitors including a koala, red-necked wallaby joey and other unique Australian animals at the Kenthurst Study Centre this morning.


“We wanted to offer the Holy Father an opportunity to experience some of Australia’s unique fauna, and were delighted when our partners at Taronga Zoo offered to help,” said Fr Mark Podesta, WYD08 spokesman.


“The Holy Father expressed that he wanted to meet some of our native animals, so we were more than happy to offer him this experience,” he said.  


Mr Casey said the Zoo staff were very professional showing great love for the animals they care for included a wallaby, koala, python, lizard, baby crocodile and an echidna. The Pope patted each of the animals and thanked the team from Taronga Zoo.


Before meeting our native friends, Pope Benedict sent out his daily text message: “the Holy Spirit gave the Apostles & gives u the power boldly 2 proclaim that Christ is risen! – BXVI”


Around Sydney, pilgrims got a real Australian treat with the WYD Big Aussie BBQ. Taking place in over 200 venues, over 220,000 slices of Tip Top “Daily Bread” were served with sausages and tomato sauce. 


World Youth Day ambassador Jared Crouch grabbed the tongs today and served up sausages to pilgrims at the University of Notre Dame, Broadway. 


If all the 220,000 slices of bread were lined up end to end they would cross the Sydney Harbour Bridge 21 times.


Catechesis also began today, focusing on ‘calling to live in the Holy Spirit’. One of the smallest nations, Wallis and Fortuna Islands was represented by their local Bishop De Rasille who spoke in French at the Parish of St Joseph in Oyster Bay.  


Over 150 Youth Festival events throughout Sydney took place today, with traditional dance from Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Polynesia and indigenous Australians taking place at Hyde Park from 2pm – 10pm.


Later tonight, Italian Christian heavy metal band, Metatrone are set to perform at Tumbalong Park. Bronx-based rapping priest Fr Stan Fortuna is expected to draw a full crowd at his two concerts at the Royal Hall of Industries, Moore Park and Bondi Beach.


A massive gathering of Italian Catholics is taking place tonight at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre which will be broadcast live to Italy from 4.30pm – 6.30pm. The event will feature Richard Campbell, performances by Gary Pinto and Metatrone, with the Italian Ambassador to Australia also taking part.


Tomorrow will be “Super Holy Thursday”, when the Pope will visit the shrine of Mary MacKillop and then travel down Sydney harbour on a Boat-a-cade, before being welcomed at Barangaroo.


His last event will be an official motorcade from Barangaroo to St Mary’s Cathedral House.

Cardinal Pell celebrates WYD08 Opening Mass at Barangaroo Australian Military Diocese welcomes pilgrims

Tuesday 15 July 2008


After years of preparation and anticipation, World Youth Day Sydney 2008 (WYD08) commenced with a spectacular Opening Mass celebrated by Cardinal George Pell at Barangaroo.


After Pope Benedict XVI sent a personal text message to pilgrims, the atmosphere in the Sydney city was electric.  


He sent: “Young friend, God & his people expect much from u, because u have within u the Father’s supreme gift: the Spirit of Jesus – BXVI”


Approximately 150,000 pilgrims attended Barangaroo and other CBD live sites for the Opening Mass.


The warm weather and gorgeous Sydney harbour as a backdrop left the crowd in awe as the sun went down during the proceedings.


After an official indigenous welcome, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd inspired the crowd when he said “too often when young people travel in large numbers, it’s for war. But you have come here as pilgrims of peace.”


Following the 168-flag procession and the walk-in of the WYD Cross, Icon and Indigenous Message Stick, Cardinal Pell welcomed the international pilgrims in four languages – English, French, Spanish and Italian.


Joined by 26 Cardinals, 400 Bishops, a 300-person youth Choir, and an 80-piece orchestra, his Homily focused on the fruitfulness of commitment.


“Don’t spend your life sitting on the fence, keeping your options open, because only commitments bring fulfilment. Happiness comes from meeting our obligations, doing our duty, especially in small matters and regularly, so we can rise to meet the harder challenges,” he said. 


In one of the closing speeches, Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko created a new feeling when he stated that the WYD08 pilgrims have brought Spring to the Australian Winter, and a new Spring time for the Australian Church.


Earlier in the day, Australian Military pilgrims gathered with their Bishop Max Davis at the Sydney Opera House for a performance for visiting pilgrims.


The Vocations Expo at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre officially opened today, featuring over 100 exhibitors from all over the world.

World Youth Day Sydney 2008 Media Events: Monday 14 July

Monday 14 July 2008


Only one day until the WYD08 Opening Ceremony at Barangaroo! It is also the last day of the Journey of the Cross and Icon.


Chief Operating Officer of WYD08 Danny Casey will hold a press conference in the International Media Centre.


The following media events are taking place tomorrow, Monday 14 July:


9.30am:     Press conference with His Eminence Cardinal George Pell. International Media Centre, Hall 2: Media Briefing Room


10.45am:   3.8 metre WYD Cross and Icon of Our Lady arrives in Circular Quay on an iconic Sydney ferry. Circular Quay wharf


12.30pm:   Media briefing on the sacrament of Confirmation – an overview. International Media Centre, Hall 2: Media Briefing Room


11.50pm:   Pilgrims celebrate WYD08 Countdown Clock ticking over to World Youth Day. Hyde Park – Opposite St Mary’s Cathedral

Pope Benedict XVI touches down in Sydney

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has touched down in Sydney following the longest journey in his life on Alitalia flight AZ4000 from Rome, travelling for 19 hours 45 minutes and 16,418 kilometres.


This historic visit to Australia is his ninth apostolic visit outside of Italy.


Descending from the aircraft, the Pope was greeted on the tarmac by the Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd, Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, and the Premier of NSW, Morris Iemma amongst other dignitaries.


Following the brief greeting, he then travelled by car to the Kenthurst Study Centre, where he will spend time privately until the evening of


Wednesday 16 July.

The Pope was greeted by:
Government officials

  • Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd
  • A representative of the Governor General
  • Premier of NSW, Morris Iemma
  • Mr Brian Davies, Official Secretary to the Governor of NSW, representative of the Governor
  • Senator the Hon Ursula Stephens
  • Deputy Premier of NSW, John Watkins
  • RAAF Base Richmond Base Commander


Church Officials

  • Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney
  • Archbishop Philip Wilson, President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Archbishop of Adelaide
  • Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, President of the Pontifical Council of the Laity
  • Bishop Anthony Fisher OP, WYD08 Coordinator, Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney
  • Monsignor Josef Clemens, Secretary of the Pontifical Council of the Laity  
  • Bishop Kevin Manning, Bishop of Parramatta
  • Bishop Max Davis, Military Ordinariate


The Holy Father is accompanied by 72 passengers; 27 Members of the Papal entourage, 43 Vatican Accredited Media Personnel, 2 assistants (1 Assistant of the Director of the Holy See Press Office and 1 Assistant for Air Transportation).


The Papal entourage for this visit includes:

  • State Secretary of His Holiness Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone
  • Substitute of the State Secretary Monsignor Fernando Filoni
  • Master of Liturgical Ceremonies of the Holy Father, Monsignor Guido Marini with two assistants
  • Personal Assistant and the Camera Assistant of the Holy Father
  • Two Officials of the State Secretary
  • The Director of the Organisation of the Apostolic Voyage, Dr Alberto Gasbarri, with an assistant
  • Director of the Holy See Press Office, Father Federico Lombardi, SI
  • Director of the L’Osservatore Romano, Professor Giovanni Maria Vian
  • The Holy Father’s Personal Doctor, Dr Renato Buzzonetti with a doctor from the Vatican City’s Health Services
  • General Inspector of the Vatican City State’s Police, Dr Domenico Giani with four agents
  • An officer and a petty officer of the Pontifical Swiss Guard
  • Two technicians of the Vatican Radio
  • Two operators of the Vatican Television Centre
  • Photographer from the l’Osservatore Romano.
Pilgrims flocking to Australian cities, towns and outback areas Days in the Dioceses begins today

Thursday 10 July 2008


Many Australian cities, regional centres and remote towns are welcoming international World Youth Day pilgrims for the Days in the Dioceses program, 10 -14 July.


A feature of every World Youth Day, Days in the Dioceses is held the week before the major events to give pilgrims the chance to celebrate their faith on a local level, meet local communities, relax and do some sight-seeing.


“Pilgrims have started arriving over the last few days and they’re absolutely loving Australia,” said Fr Mark Podesta, WYD08 spokesman.


“We are putting on a pretty good show, with many hosts creating great Aussie welcomes for our guests including sheep-shearing demonstrations, getting up close to koalas and kangaroos, good old Aussie BBQs and sometimes just familiarising our visitors from Oceania with cold weather!”


“Some Aussies are even hosting some small and interesting groups, including the only people from Turkmenistan, who will travel to Melbourne before WYD08.”


Some highlights of Days in the Dioceses include:


Melbourne VIC

22,000 internationals will join 18,000 locals during the week.

Pilgrims are coming from 92 countries including large groups from Cologne Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Philippines and Poland as well as four Cardinals and over 100 Archbishops and Bishops. A Commissioning Mass will be held at Telstra Dome for 50,000 pilgrims.


Ballarat VIC
130 pilgrims from Ireland, East Timor, Portugal, Canada, USA, and Macau will be joining in the local festivities.

Wollongong NSW
Close to 2,000 international pilgrims will be based across the Illawarra, Shoalhaven and Southern Highlands from over 20 countries including the USA, Italy, Germany, England, France, Poland, Syria, Latvia, The United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Columbia and Brazil. Great local activities include 40 stalls of Aussie food and craft, amusement rides, face painting and balloons, indigenous art and dancing, whip cracking and sheep shearing demonstrations, koala and kangaroos on display as well as a number of cricket, NRL and AFL clinics.


Oblate Youth DID Melbourne

The only pilgrims from Turkmenistan coming to WYY08 will be staying in Melbourne. The Catholic Group, Oblate Youth will be welcoming 850 pilgrims from 38 countries including the only pilgrims from Turkmenistan.


Wilcannia-Forbes NSW will host 300 pilgrims from Idaho, St Louis University, USA, Germany, Russia, Calgary, Idaho and Burgundy France. They will take them to see Parkes, visit “The Dish”, a trip to an Alpaca farm and give them a sausage sizzle by a bonfire.


Darwin NT is welcome 600 pilgrims from Canada, Italy, East Timor, France, Germany as well as the Bishop of East Timor. They will be holding processions through the city, Indigenous Art and faith workshops.


Brisbane QLD 
10,000 international pilgrims from 40 countries with the largest groups coming from USA, Canada, Germany, Italy and France.


Toowoomba QLD is expecting 55 pilgrims from Papua New Guinea and Wisconsin USA.


Canberra-Goulburn NSW
402 Samoans as well as pilgrims from Papua New Guinea East Timor, Philippines and Tanzania. St Vinnies and parishes are on board to provide them with warm clothing. 


Peth WA
600 pilgrims including:

  • 129 young people from Switzerland including a Bishop and nine priests
  • South Africa Archbishop Lawrence Henry, two priests and nine young people
  • USA - Franciscan Friars of the Renewal and a group of 43 young people
  • Bishop from Ghana, nine priests and nine young people
  • Schoenstatt group of 52 young pilgrims from Germany
  • India - 15 young people including two priests and religious sisters
  • 2 young people from East Timor
  • 52 people from Uganda
  • 21 young people from Gabon
  • 31 from Tui Vigo in Spain
  • 5 from Italy (Chieti-Vasto) Including an Archbishop, Bishop and three priests
  • 7 from Vietnam
  • 2 from China (Ursuline religious sisters)
  • 1 from Pakistan
  • 40 from Scandinavia
  • 95 from Northern Ireland
  • And many more!
400 accommodation venues for WYD08 pilgrims “Pilgrim Park” and Islamic School almost open for pilgrims

Thursday 10 July 2008


International and interstate pilgrims will be staying in approximately 400 schools, parish halls and venues across Sydney from 14 July – 21 July 2008.


“We are witnessing streams of pilgrims arrive in all major Australian airports this week with plenty more to come,” said Fr Mark Podesta, WYD08 spokesman.


“We are expecting Monday 14 July to be the busiest time for Sydney airport, as the majority of pilgrims arrive from other Australian states or overseas.


“They will then be taken to one of the 400 accommodation venues across Sydney with the biggest venue Sydney Olympic Park, which we are dubbing “Pilgrim Park” as it will become a mini-city housing over 10,000 pilgrims.  


“And its not only the Catholic world getting on board – we are so pleased to have the support from the whole community, in particular an Islamic school in Greenacre that will be accommodating approximately 300 pilgrims.”


Accommodation venues are typically located near public transport, with the reach extending to areas on the CityRail network.


“Parishes are gearing up and getting excited for their international guests, sprucing up their venues, baking cakes, knitting scarves and beanies and some even delivering fresh fruit every morning to the pilgrims.


“There is a real community spirit happening around city, and it’s from the infectious exuberance that these young people bring,” said Fr Mark.


Pilgrims will be in “simple” accommodation which is sleeping space on the floor, shower and toilet facilities and breakfast provided.


“Far from a ‘Rolls-Royce’ holiday, World Youth Days are a pilgrimage. One of faith, love and sacrifice – its something that Sydneysiders won’t believe until they experience!”  


Approximately 23,000 pilgrims will also be staying in HomeStay accommodation, with thousands more staying in paid accommodation such as backpacker hotels and hostels. 


World Youth Day Sydney 2008 is the 23rd event, and will include the first visit of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to Australia.

Vanessa Australia provides silver service for World Youth Day 2008

Tuesday 8 July 2008


World Youth Day Sydney 2008 (WYD08) has appointed Perth-based company Vanessa Australia as official licensee with a range of religious jewellery and souvenir products.


Crucifixes of rosary beads made from iron-ore and cool stainless steel WYD08 dog tags have been designed by Vanessa Australia exclusively for the event.


Hosted by the Catholic Church but open to all, WYD08 will be the largest event that Australia has ever hosted and marks the first visit to Australia by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.


“World Youth Day is proud to be collaborating with a company whose reputation is synonymous with quality craftsmanship, creativity and unique design to promote these beautiful devotional pieces,” said Danny Casey, WYD08 Chief Operating Officer.


Specialising in Australian gemstone jewellery, Vanessa Australia’s WYD08 range is crafted from materials including iron-ore and stainless steel.


“As Australia’s largest supplier of souvenir jewellery, we are delighted to be offering pilgrims a range of beautiful, timeless pieces that will act as precious keepsakes of their experiences at World Youth Day 2008,” said Jason Abbott, Managing Director, Vanessa Australia.


All products will be encased in the official WYD08 packaging with a retail price between $AUD24.95 and $AUD79.95 per item.


The exclusive souvenir product range is now available through the WYD08 website and selected retail stores nationally.


The stainless steel range will also be on sale at all of the major venues during WYD08 in July.


For more information about Vanessa Australia call 1800 800 596.


Sydney will host the 23rd World Youth Day from 15 – 20 July this year. Up to 500,000 people – including 125,000 international visitors - are expected to attend the Final Mass on Sunday 20 July at Randwick Racecourse and Centennial Park.

Heavy metal, acid jazz, reggae, rap, Gospel, Afro-Caribbean, Gregorian Chants and Christian rock – hear it all at World Youth Day

Sunday 6 July 2008


Pope Benedict XVI may be the ‘rock star’ attraction of World Youth Day Sydney 2008 (WYD08), but many headline and emerging artists will also take centre stage during the week.


More than 165 outdoor concerts will take place during WYD08 week, 15 – 20 July, as part of the Youth Festival.


Headline acts include the likes of Damien Leith, Guy Sebastian, Paulini, the Tap Dogs, Diesel, Vanessa Amorosi and Australian Idol finalist Joseph Gateau.


They are joined by some of the world’s leading Christian artists, multicultural wonders, eclectic bands and emerging local and international acts.


“Dance and song is just some of the ways we can express our faith,” said Fr Mark Podesta, WYD08 spokesman.


“Apart from the Liturgy, they seem to be the most popular ways for young people with over 165 different acts performing during the week.


“WYD08 will be a great celebration, and by the fantastic array of musical genres that will be on stage, there will be something for everybody.”


All Youth Festival acts are available to registered pilgrims and members of the public, and are listed at


Highlights include:

  • Resonaxis @ Sydney Opera House Concert Hall

A fusion of the secular and the sacred, acid jazz meets Gregorian Chant
Wednesday 16 July, 3.00pm – 3.45pm                                                                         

  • Metatrone @ Tumbalong Park

Catholic heavy metal band from Italy
Wednesday 16 July, 8.00pm – 9.00pm

  • Scythian @ Palm Grove, Darling Harbour

Celtic, gypsy and Klezmer music with high energy rhythms
Wednesday 16 July, 9.00pm – 10.00pm

  • World Youth 4 Justice concert by St Vincent de Paul @ Barangaroo

A concert raising awareness of the needs of Australia’s poor and oppressed, addressing social poverty and injustice in the world featuring DIESEL, Vanessa Amorosi, Rick Price and The McClymonts
Thursday 17 July, 6.00pm – 9.00pm

  • Amanda Vernon and Psalm6Teen @ Harbourside Amphitheatre

Up-tempo gospel to ballads and rap Amanda Vernon collaborates with Psalm6Teen an exciting father and son Christian rock band
Thursday 17 July, 6.30pm – 7.30pm

  • Internationally renowned Christian act, the Matt Maher Band @ Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre (SCEC)

Christian pop rock from the USA with powerful teaching and prayer
Thursday 17 July, 7.30pm – 10.00pm

  • Rexband @ Royal Hall of Industries

Contemporary Christian band from India incorporating Indian classical, western classical, rock, pop and R&B
Thursday 17 July, 8.00pm – 10.00pm                                                                      

  • Tony Melendez, the “toe picker” @ Sydney Opera House Forecourt

Highly talented composer and musician, and an excellent guitarist with no arms, known as the “toe picker”
Friday 18 July, 6.00pm – 6.40pm

  • Receive The Power Live! featuring the Matt Maher Band, Hillsong United and Darlene Zscech @ Barangaroo

Friday 18 July, 7.00pm – 10.00pm                                                                                             

  • Timothy Upshur and Jesus His Passion @ Sydney Opera House Forecourt

A multi sensory interpretation fusing Gregorian chant, jazz, drum rhythms and rich imagery of photographic artist Thomas Upshur
Friday 18 July, 7.00pm – 7.20pm

  • Mustard Seeds Community Choir @ Tumbalong Park

African choral performance from Zimbabwe
Friday 18 July, 7.00pm – 7.40pm

  • Handel’s Messiah performed by Australian Catholic Students Association, Artes Christi and Campion College Australia @ St Peter’s, Surry Hills

One of the world’s greatest choral works, performed with an 80 strong choir and orchestra
Friday 18 July, 8.30pm – 10.00pm

  • Judy Bailey Band @ Randwick Racecourse

Blend of Afro-Caribbean grooves with religious roots
Saturday 19 July, 5.00pm – 5.45pm

  • Tongan Dance @ Randwick Racecourse

     Traditional and contemporary Tongan dance
Sunday 20 July, 2.40pm – 2.55pm

The WYD08 Youth Festival will take place from Tuesday 15 July – Sunday 20 July commencing at 2.00pm each day. The Youth Festival will also feature performing arts, visual arts exhibitions, debate, film, national and community gatherings, street performers, workshops and a Vocations Expo.

Massive gatherings of Italians, Americans, Franciscans and Maronites: 142,000 pilgrims at WYD08 national and community gatherings

Thursday 3 July 2008


Many pilgrims are taking advantage of the global gathering of young people during World Youth Day Sydney 2008 (WYD08) to hold large national and community gatherings.


From 12 to 26 July, over 30 gatherings will take place across Sydney with the largest expected to be:

  • the multi-nation Neo-Catechumenal Way lay movement at The Domain (up to 25,000)
  • the Lebanese Maronite community at Parramatta Stadium (20,000)
  • The Italian Scalabrini community at Club Marconi in Bossley Park (15,000) and
  • 12,000 from the USA, also in The Domain

An expected 3,000 French will celebrate Bastille Day on 14 July in the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, while 10,000 friends of the Franciscans will meet on Bondi Beach and 8,000 Asian youth will meet in Sydney Olympic Park.


“An international World Youth Day is a chance for pilgrims to hold large celebrations with those who belong to the same religious order or language group who would otherwise not have the chance to meet and share their faith,” said Fr Mark Podesta, WYD08 spokesman.


“Take the Neo-Catechumenal Way for example. They have members in many nations across the world. At WYD08 they can all meet together in one place and celebrate their faith and their particular ‘charism’ with the founder of their movement.


“Or the French might want to celebrate in their own language, inviting French speakers to their gathering from France, Africa and the Pacific, as well as Francophone Australians. The Italians will do the same.


“Whether national or community based, these are a great way for young people to strengthen their faith and meet like-minded people at WYD08.


“Around 142,000 pilgrims will attend one or more of these national and community gatherings.”


The list of large gatherings is found below. For more information visit the WYD08 website:


Sydney will host the 23rd World Youth Day from 15 – 20 July. Hosted by the Catholic Church but open to all, WYD08 will mark the first visit to Australia by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.


Examples of National and Community Gatherings

Saturday 12 July

  • 2,000 Legionaries of Christ – The Youth and Family Encounter @ Intercontinental Hotel (9.00am – 9.00pm)

Sunday 13 July

  • 400 Filipino Gathering @ Mary Immaculate Church Bossley Park (11am – 4pm)
  • 20,000 Maronites @ Parramatta Stadium (from 7am)


  • 2,000 Legionaries of Christ – The Youth and Family Encounter @ Intercontinental Hotel (9.00am – 9.00pm)
  • 15,000 Scalabrini Gathering @ Club Marconi, Bossley Park (9.30am – 6.00pm)


Monday 14 July

  • 3,000 French Gathering for Bastille Day @ SCEC (4.00pm – 8.00pm)

       Tuesday 15 July

  • 500 Antioch Gathering @ Randwick Labor Club Hall (10.00am – 12.00pm)
  • 200 South Africans @ Holy Cross Church Bondi Junction (10am – 12.00pm)


  • 1,000 Indonesian Gathering @ SCEC (10.00am – 1.00pm)
  • 4,500 Queensland Gathering @ Hordern Pavilion (12.00pm – 3.00pm)


  • 4,500 Men Alive Gathering @ Hordern Pavilion (7.00pm – 10.00pm)
  • 7,000 Oceania ACTIV8 Committee @ Tumbalong Park (9.00am – 9.00pm)


Wednesday 16 July

  • 600 St Vincent de Paul Gathering @ Sydney Grammar School (1.00pm – 8.00pm)
  • 10,000 Franciscan Gathering @ Bondi Beach (2.30pm – 8.30pm)


  • 4,500 New Zealand Gathering @ Hordern Pavilion (2.30pm – 5.00pm)
  • 2,000 Christian Brothers/Edmund Rice Network @ Christian Brothers High School (2.00pm – 4.00pm)


  • 2,000 South Australian Gathering @ Riverview College (2.00pm – 4.00pm)
  • 1,000 Chinese Gathering @ Hurstville (2.00pm – 6.00pm)


  • 100 Christian Life Movement @ Stanmore (3.00pm – 7.00pm)
  • 10,000 Italian Gathering @ Sydney Entertainment Centre (3.00pm – 8.00pm)


  • 2,500 Vietnamese Gathering @ Liverpool (6.30pm – 11.00pm)
  • 8,000 Asian Youth Gathering @ Sydney Olympic Park (6.00pm – 10.00pm)


  • 500 Chilean Gathering @ All Saints Liverpool (7.30pm – 9.30pm)

Thursday 17 July

  • 400 Austrian Youth Gathering @ Glebe (6.30pm – 10.00pm)
  • 150 International Young Christian Students and International Young Christian Workers Members Gathering @ Camperdown (7.00pm – 10.00pm)


Friday 18 July

  • 400 Denver Youth Gathering @ Holy Cross Church Bondi Junction (1.00pm – 2.30pm)
  • 700 International Federation of Catholic Parochial Youth Movements @ SCEC (6.30pm – 9.30pm)


  • 400 Darwin Diocese Youth Gathering @ Glebe (7.30pm)

Saturday 19 July

  • 12,000 American Gathering @ The Domain (8.30am – 11.30am)

Monday 21 July

  • 500 French Parisian Gathering @ Holy Cross Church Bondi Junction (10.00am – 3.00pm)


  • 25,000 Neo Catechumenal Way @ The Domain (12.00pm – 7.30pm)

Saturday 26 July

    • 3,000 EDA Gathering @ AJC Pavilion Randwick (4.00pm)
It’s the final countdown to World Youth Day Sydney 2008! 15 Day Walk of the Cross and Icon to commence tomorrow

Monday 30 June 2008


Tomorrow marks the final countdown to the World Youth Day Opening Mass in Sydney, with the “Olympic Torch” of World Youth Day beginning its 15 Day Walk.


Commencing at Wollongong Cathedral, the 3.8 metre World Youth Day Cross, Icon of Our Lady and an Indigenous Message Stick will be walked through the streets of greater Sydney from tomorrow – inviting all people to join in the final countdown.


“World Youth Day is the largest youth event in the world,” said Fr Mark Podesta, WYD08 spokesman.


“It is very exciting that the event is almost upon us. The 15 Day Walk will create a similar atmosphere of the Olympic torch when it was here in 2000.”


Pope John Paul II gave the WYD Cross to the youth of the world in 1984, and it has been on a pilgrimage around the world since then. In its 24 year history, the Cross still remains the most tangible symbol of World Youth Day.


Since arriving in Australia on 1 July 2007, the symbols have visited over 400 communities around Australia and been greeted by almost 400,000 people.


With an official blessing and “send-off” from the Diocese of Wollongong, the Cross, Icon and Message Stick will visit local Sydney suburbs including Minto, Leppington, Liverpool, Rooty Hill, Sutherland, Parramatta, Chatswood and North Sydney during the two week procession.


During the World Youth Day event week, the Cross and Icon will be in Hyde Park where pilgrims and visitors alike are welcome to pray or reflect in their presence.


Organisers are calling for Sydneysiders to register their interest to join one of Sydney’s longest street processions.


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 first visit to Australia of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.

From creation to the Da Vinci Code - World Youth Day forums tackle the big issues

Friday 27 June 2008


World Youth Day Sydney 2008 (WYD08) pilgrims and Sydneysiders are encouraged to attend a selection of free forums and workshops taking place throughout Sydney during the WYD08 week, 15 – 20 July.


As part of WYD08’s Youth Festival, various forums tackling issues from social justice and women’s rights to interfaith dialogue and sexuality will guarantee to engage and inspire all participants.


“World Youth Day is a celebration, and exploration of young people and faith,” said Bishop Anthony Fisher OP, WYD08 Coordinator.


“This is a time for the youth of the world to come together and discuss the critical challenges and issues facing society today.”


A major focus is the Vocations Expo in Hall 1 of the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, where over 100 catholic movements, groups and associations will be providing information on vocations and religious life. The Expo is open all week.


The forums and workshops are hosted by communities and groups from around the world. Some highlights are listed below.



  1. All Creation Groans: The Debate over Creation and Evolution

Presented by the Archbishop of Vienna Cardinal Christopher Schönborn OP
5.15pm – 6pm Wednesday 16 July; Great Hall, Sydney University

  1. Alice to the Apology: the journey of Australian Indigenous spirituality in the Catholic Church, facilitated by Australian journalist Ray Martin.

A panel and audience discussion featuring the Bishop of Broome/Kimberley and representatives from Caritas Torres Strait, Catholic Education Office Maitland NSW, NATSICC and Aboriginal Catholic Ministry QLD.
8pm – 10pm Wednesday 16 July; State Theatre, Market Street, Sydney

  1. God, Sex, and the Meaning of Life: An introduction to John Paul II’s Theology of the Body

Presented by Christopher West from the Theology of the Body Institute Philadelphia, USA.
8pm – 10pm Wednesday 16 July; Bayside Auditorium, Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, Darling Harbour

  1. Human Trafficking – a global concern, presented by Australian Catholic Religious against the Trafficking of Humans

8pm – 9.30pm Wednesday 16 July; Parkside 110A, Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, Darling Harbour

  1. Engaging with Mental Health and Homelessness in a Youth context, presented by The Society of St Vincent de Paul

4.30pm – 6.30pm Wednesday 16 July; Parkside 110A, Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, Darling Harbour

  1. Australians all face to face and faith to faith: multi-faith communities heading in the right direction

Presented by Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, Apostolic Nuncio to Egypt, with key responses from Australian Jewish, Islamic, Buddhist and Hindu leaders and community groups.
8pm – 10pm Thursday 17 July; Bayside Auditorium, Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, Darling Harbour

  1. Earthcare: Caring for creation, presented by Catholic Earthcare

A forum featuring representatives from Catholic Earthcare Australia, Australian Youth Climate Coalition, Environmental Law Centre in PNG and music by Soul Band.
8pm – 10pm Friday 18 July; State Theatre, Market Street Sydney

  1. Get Real: A forum of the objectification of women, presented by Women’s Forum Australia

Featuring Selena Ewing (researcher and author of Faking It magazine), Melinda Tankard Reist (editor of Faking It, author and commentator on women’s issues)
8pm – 10pm Friday 18 July; Bayside Auditorium, Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre Bay


  1. Witness through action: Young people and the Millennium Development Goals, presented by Caritas Australia. Think globally about social justice and the demands of human dignity.

2pm – 4pm Tuesday 15 July; Customs House, Circular Quay

  1. Historical Apologetics and Catholic Urban Legends: History and Humour from the Crusades to The Da Vinci Code

Dean Mischewski sets the record straight over a number of historical issues that Catholics may face when discussing their faith with secular friends.
7.30pm – 9.30pm Thursday 17 July; Notre Dame Campus, Darlinghurst

  1. Sam Clear in conversation, presented by Magis08

On 14 December 2006 Sam Clear set out on a 29,000 km trek around the world for Christian unity. He discusses his year long pilgrimage including how he was mocked and stoned by disgruntled people along the way.
8pm – 9.30pm Thursday 17 July; St Aloysius’ College, Milsons Point

All forums and workshops are free for all to attend, however in some cases booking in advance is required as spaces at some venues are limited.


The complete program of forums and workshops is listed in the Youth Festival guide, available on the WYD08 website:

Over 450 free concerts, art exhibitions, forums, talks and more as Youth Festival celebrates World Youth Day

Friday 27 June 2008


from rapping priests, interfaith dialogue, art exhibitions and discussions on sex, theology and the body will take place during the Youth Festival of World Youth Day Sydney 2008 (WYD08).


The international artistic Christian world will converge on WYD08 to showcase to thousands of pilgrims and Sydneysiders the joy, celebration and in-depth thirst for knowledge and discussion that the youth of today have.


Staged every day during the WYD08 week (15 – 20 July), the Youth Festival will take place in over 100 city locations from approximately 2pm – 10pm, except during major event times.


“The Youth Festival is an important part of World Youth Day, as this is where young people are centre-stage showcasing their talent and discussing their ideals,” said WYD08 spokesman Fr Mark Podesta.


“All Youth Festival events are open to registered pilgrims and members of the public,” Fr Podesta said.


“Events will be held outdoors, in art galleries and theatres, on beaches, in Churches, theme parks and commercial spaces – almost every available space in Sydney CBD!”


There are also a handful of indoor and theatre events where space is limited. To check out all the events and reserve your space at certain venues, please go online at


Central highlights of the Youth Festival include:

  1. Pilgrimage to St Mary’s Cathedral

Friday 11 July – Tuesday 22 July
Visit Australia’s Mother Church, where the relics of Blessed Pier Giorgio will be housed. A photographic exhibition of his life and that of Blessed Mary MacKillop will be on display. The newly commissioned painting, Our Lady of the Southern Cross, will also be a focal point

  1. Vocations Expo, Hall 1 Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre

Tuesday 15 July – Friday 18 July
Over 110 different religious movements and organisations will be on display offering people information and answering questions about living religious life

  1. Reconciliation Centre, Bayside Grand Hall, Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre

Tuesday 15 July – Friday 18 July
This is one of five main locations where reconciliation (confession) will be offered. Reconciliation also be available at the Southern Cross Precinct (Randwick Racecourse and Centennial Park) during the Vigil and Final Mass.

The Olympic torch of World Youth Day takes to the streets of Sydney 15 Day Walk of the Cross and Icon

Sunday 22 June 2008


The “Olympic Torch” of World Youth Day – a 3.8 metre Cross, accompanied by an Icon of Our Lady and an Indigenous Message Stick - will arrive in Greater Sydney on 1 July for a 15 Day Walk through of Sydney streets.


The Walk begins in Wollongong on 1 July and ends in Barangaroo, East Darling Harbour on 15 July with a procession into the Opening Mass celebrated by Cardinal George Pell.


The 15 Day Walk schedule has been released online and WYD08 organisers are calling for Sydneysiders to register their interest to join one of Sydney’s longest street processions.


“The purpose of the WYD Cross, Icon and Message Stick are to invite young people to World Youth Day and to spread a message of hope, peace and Christ’s love for humanity,” WYD08 Coordinator Bishop Anthony Fisher OP said.


“After travelling around Australia since 1 July 2007, they will arrive in Sydney for a momentum-building walk through local footpaths, parks and landmarks.


“Sydneysiders will again feel the excitement of an international event, as they did during the Olympics.


“These simple symbols have had such a profound effect on the 400,000 Australians who have already witnessed them on their journey through our vast nation.


“They have visited every corner of Australia, from the big cities to remote indigenous and farming communities. Young people have carried the WYD Cross to places of spiritual importance, such as cathedrals and parish churches, schools and hospitals, and Mary MacKillop’s tomb; to places of geographical importance such as our beaches, waterways and countryside, up to the top of Mt. Kosciusko, to Uluru, the Great Barrier Reef, the Twelve Apostles; and to places of historical significance such as La Perouse, war memorials, detention centres, prisons and Federal Parliament.


They have also taken the Cross to social hubs such as sports stadiums, shopping centres, youth groups, even schoolies week,” the Bishop said.


The 15 Day Walk will continue this unique experience in Sydney by going bushwalking near Horsley Park, down the M7 Motorway and across Sydney Harbour on one of the Manly ferries.


The Cross, Icon and Indigenous Message Stick will proceed through suburban Sydney, visiting Liverpool, Rooty Hill, Sutherland, Auburn, Parramatta, Dural, Chatswood and North Sydney before resting overnight at the University of Sydney on 14 July - the day before the WYD08 Opening Mass.


During the event week, the Cross and Icon will be in Hyde Park where everybody is welcome to pray or reflect in their presence.


The full 15 Day Walk schedule is found here


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 first visit to Australia of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.

Jesus and Mary climb heavenwards on Sydney Harbour Bridge Stations of the Cross route announced for WYD08

Friday 20 June 2008


‘Jesus’ and ‘Mary’ climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge today to get a bird’s-eye view of the route of the Stations of the Cross production to be held on Friday 18 July.


The Stations of the Cross is a showpiece event of World Youth Day Sydney 2008 (WYD08). The 13 Stations will be acted out from 3pm-6pm at six major CBD locations.


Alfio Stuto and Marina Dixon, who will play Jesus and Mary respectively, have been busy rehearsing with 100 fellow cast members for the last few months.


Thanks to BridgeClimb Sydney, the pair today joined young Sydney priest Fr Mark Podesta to get an aerial view of the event route:


Station 1:     The Last Supper with a special appearance by the Holy Father
St Mary’s Cathedral
Performance by St Mary’s Cathedral choir

Station 2:     The Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane where Christ prepares for his death
The Domain

Station 3:     Jesus before the Sanhedrin
The Art Gallery of NSW

Station 4:     Jesus before Pontius Pilate
Sydney Opera House

Station 5:     Jesus is whipped and crowned
Sydney Opera House Forecourt

Station 6:     Jesus carries his Cross
Sydney Opera House Forecourt

Station 7:     Jesus is helped by Simon of Cyrene onboard a floating pontoon
Cockle Bay, Darling Harbour

Station 8:     Jesus speaks to the women of Jerusalem
Barangaroo, Centre Stage

Station 9:     Jesus is stripped and nailed
Barangaroo North Stage

Station 10:   Jesus and the Good Thief
Barangaroo North Stage


Station 11:   Jesus speaks to Mary and John
Barangaroo North Stage

Station 12:   Jesus dies on the cross
Barangaroo North Stage

Station 13:   The body of Jesus is brought down from the Cross
Barangaroo North Stage

Pilgrims will be allocated to one of six sites excluding The Art Gallery of NSW which is not a public venue. There will also be spaces for the general public, primarily at Darling Harbour.  


Crowds will not be able to follow the actors, and will remain at a live site to watch the proceedings via large screens, awaiting the travelling production to come to their venue.


The Stations of the Cross will be directed by Fr Franco Cavarra, while renowned designer Michael-Scott Mitchell – who created the Cauldron at the 2000 Olympics – has designed the sets.


Julie Lynch is the costume designer, with Anne Boyd and Fr Geoffrey Abdullah commissioned to compose the music for Stations eight and three respectively. The music will also include pieces from Mozart and indigenous artists.


“The world will be mesmerised by this beautiful depiction of Christ’s Passion, played out across some of Sydney’s famous landmarks,” said WYD08 spokesman Fr Mark Podesta.


As official provider for WYD08, BridgeClimb Sydney was happy to share this special occasion with ‘Jesus’ and ‘Mary’ on the Sydney Harbour Bridge today.


“The Sydney Harbour Bridge provides a great vantage point to witness the Stations of the Cross and other World Youth Day events as they happen around Sydney’s harbour,” said BridgeClimb’s Managing Director Todd Coates.


The Stations of the Cross will be televised live to the world. A similar production at Toronto’s World Youth Day in 2002 was watched by one billion viewers worldwide.


Sydney will host the 23rd World Youth Day from 15 – 20 July this year.

Massive altar roof raised into place at Randwick Racecourse for World Youth Day 2008

Monday 23 June 2008


A massive roof, measuring 30 metres by 40 metres, has been raised into place above the sanctuary where His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI will say Mass for up to half a million people next month.


Building contractors preparing Randwick Racecourse for World Youth Day Sydney 2008 (WYD08) today hoisted the roof 25 metres off the ground and 17 metres above the floor of the sanctuary – the structure where the altar will be located.


“It’s amazing what our contractors have been able to build in the few short weeks they’ve been on site,” said WYD08 Coordinator Bishop Anthony Fisher OP.


“The sanctuary is taking shape very quickly. Soon, they will start applying the iconic Australian design elements such as ‘Marjorie’s Bird’ - an Indigenous painting depicting the Holy Spirit by Tiwi Islander artist Marjorie Liddy.


“While its size will make it impressive, we’ve taken great care to ensure the sanctuary will also be a sacred liturgical space. It will establish the perfect atmosphere for prayer, adoration and reflection.”


The sanctuary will accommodate:

  • 500 cardinals and bishops
  • A 300-strong WYD08 choir and
  • An 80-piece orchestra


WYD08 Chief Operating Officer Danny Casey said Southern Cross Precinct – the name given to the joint Randwick Racecourse/Centennial Park venue site - will host the last two World Youth Day events.


“The first is the Evening Vigil with the Holy Father on Saturday 19 July. We expect 225,000 pilgrims to sleep out on site afterwards – that’s more people than the entire population of the Northern Territory.


“When they awake, the Holy Father will return for the Final Mass, and we expect the overnight population will double in the morning as Sydneysiders arrive to take their places in the racecourse and Centennial Park.”


Mr Casey said all construction work on the racecourse was carried out strictly in line with measures approved by the AJC, the NSW Government and WYD08.


“We rely on the AJC to advise our contractors on any works in or around a racing or training surface. We always operate in accordance with agreed protocols.”


Sydney will host the 23rd World Youth Day from 15 – 20 July. Hosted by the Catholic Church but open to all, WYD08 will mark the first visit to Australia by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.

World Youth Day registrations approach 200,000

Monday 23 June 2008


Registrations for World Youth Day Sydney 2008 (WYD08) have been rolling in, with just under 200,000 in the system, organisers said today.


“Our estimations for the event have always been based on 125,000 international and 100,000 domestic registered pilgrims,” said WYD08 Chief Operating Officer Danny Casey.


“The internationals have registered early to ensure they’re well-prepared for their journey to Sydney.


“We always knew that the Aussies would come in late, but we are seeing growth in this segment as well.


“It’s great to see so many locals excited about this event.” 


Mr Casey said he was surprised to read comments attributed to NSW Government WYD08 spokeswoman Kristina Keneally that only 130,000 people had registered for the event.


“Minister Keneally could only have been referring to those who have finalised their registration.


“By midday today, 132,671 individuals have completed their registrations by providing WYD08 organisers with all of their individual details.


“In addition, a further 64,181 have made a commitment and are partly through their registration.


“This indicates that almost 197,000 people have registered to date.”


Mr Casey said that with three weeks to go, the WYD08 estimate of around 225,000 registrations is expected to be met or exceeded.


“With almost 40 extra flights coming into Sydney airport just for the event, there is no doubt this city will be awash with hundreds of thousands of joyous young people – and let’s not forget one very important Head of State!”


Registration figures do not include members of the public who wish to attend some of the major events. At the Final Mass, over 500,000 people are expected fill Randwick Racecourse and Centennial Park.


Sydney will host the XXIII World Youth Day from 15 to 20 July. A Catholic event, open to all, the event will also mark the first visit to Australia of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.

Pope Benedict XVI to confirm 24 candidates at World Youth Day 2008

Sunday 15 June 2008


His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI will personally confirm 24 young people at the World Youth Day Final Mass on Sunday 20 July.


The 24 candidates for confirmation – 14 Australians and 10 internationals – will receive the sacrament that marks the completion of baptismal grace.


During the confirmation rite, Pope Benedict will invoke the gifts of the Holy Spirit and anoint each candidate with holy oil. They will later also each receive holy communion from him.


“It’s not everyday that one is confirmed by the global leader of the Catholic Church before hundreds of thousands of people,” said WYD08 Coordinator, Bishop Anthony Fisher OP.


“The sacrament is life changing and to receive the sacrament in this way will prove an unforgettable experience, one that they will each carry with them for the rest of their lives,” he said.


“The candidates have been selected as representatives of their regions by bishops across Australia and we are absolutely delighted to be able to present them to the Pope for this momentous occasion.”


The Australian candidates are aged from 16–43 and are from every state and territory:


  • Patrick Barrett (Lismore, NSW)
  • Belinda Frame (Sydney, NSW)
  • Shannon Kyrwood (WA)
  • David Proudlock (WA)
  • Bernadette Kosandiak (SA)
  • John Low (SA)
  • Alexandra Karagiannakis (Tas)


  • Emily Jade Marsden (Tas)
  • Matthew Reuter (Vic)
  • Judi Robinson (Vic)
  • Bernardo Caballero (Qld)
  • Joanne Richards (Qld)
  • Riordan Wang (ACT)
  • Tasman Gould Heyes (NT)

The 10 international confirmation candidates are in the final process of selection.


Sydney will host the 23rd World Youth Day from 15-20 July this year. Up to 500,000 people are expected to attend the Final Mass in Randwick Racecourse and neighbouring Centennial Park.

Construction at Barangaroo presses forward Two-storey high altar takes shape

Monday 16 June 2008


With just 29 days to go until World Youth Day Sydney 2008 (WYD08), the site where His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI will be publicly welcomed to Australia is taking shape.


Barangaroo, in East Darling Harbour, will be the busiest venue for the six day event, with 100 builders on site daily to make it ready in time for the 15-20 July event.


“Come July, this precinct will become a mini-city for up to 150,000 young people at any one time,” WYD08 Coordinator Bishop Anthony Fisher OP said. 


“This spectacular site will be where the Pope will be welcomed and the young people of the world - who will become honorary Sydneysiders for a week – will participate in many WYD08 events.”


The 22-hectare harbourfront site on the CBD’s western edge will host the following events:

  • Opening Mass with Cardinal George Pell on Tuesday 15 July
  • The Arrival and Welcome of Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday 17 July
  • The final six Stations of the Cross on Friday 18 July
  • Many Youth Festival performances on the two main stages


“Barangaroo will become a mini-city housing two main stages, 45 pilgrim areas, 1200 toilets, 25 catering outlets, 25 lighting towers, six large screens, a 300-seat media tribune with seven translation booths, VIP areas, merchandise facilities and a special needs area,” Bishop Fisher said.


“It will also feature a four metre high sanctuary, incorporating the altar to be used for the Opening Mass and the Arrival and Welcome of Pope Benedict.”


The site, running north-south along Hickson Road, was made available by the New South Wales Government ahead of its redevelopment as a new business, residential and recreational precinct.


“We are proud to welcome the Pope and the youth of the world to such an impressive location,” said Iemma Government spokesperson for World Youth Day, Kristina Keneally.


“Barangaroo is the only harbourside precinct – indeed the only CBD location – capable of accommodating up to 150,000 people at any one time. The site was chosen for its capacity, availability and supreme location to showcase Sydney’s marvellous harbour.”


Pope Benedict will arrive at Barangaroo at approximately 3.30pm on Thursday 17 July after a 45 minute trip across Sydney Harbour. He will be greeted by young indigenous people, then give his first public address in Australia at the site.


Sydney will host the XXIII World Youth Day from 15 to 20 July. A Catholic event open to all, it will also mark the first visit by Pope Benedict XVI to Australia.

Sydney students packing their way through 275,000 backpacks

Wednesday 11 June 2008


High school students from all over Sydney are volunteering their time to pack over 275,000 pilgrim backpacks for World Youth Day Sydney 2008 (WYD08).


In total, over 2,500 Catholic school students will be involved in the process that will operate until June 2008.


The packing centre, in Sydney’s western suburb of Granville, is made up of 14 work-stations that are laid out like a factory production-line.


“We are really pleased to have the young people of Sydney playing such an important role in preparing for World Youth Day,” said Geoff Morris, WYD08 Director of Pilgrim Services.


“This is the perfect example of how the schools, parishes and wider communities are all coming together for a common cause. That is the whole purpose of World Youth Day,” he said.


Already over 200,000 backpacks have been prepared by the students containing items such as WYD08 books, pen, bandana, ‘Pilgrim Passport’ containing vouchers for shopping at Sydney Airport, tattoos, McDonalds voucher, rosary beads, poncho, water bottle, clip-on koala, kinetic torch and a thermal blanket.


“On the first day we ran the program, I set a target of 7,000 backpacks per day. The students packed 8,000 on the first day, and a further 10,000 on the second!” said Lina Maroun, WYD08 Warehouse Coordinator.


Upon arrival, the students from years 7-10 are provided with a brief history of World Youth Day, undergo a short training in OH&S matters and receive a demonstration of how the packing process works.


As a thank you from WYD08 staff, each student volunteer receives a backpack at the end of the session.


“The students now have a really good understanding of the significance of WYD08 being hosted in our city. They are so excited to be part of the event preparation,” said Lina.


Most of the backpacks will be sent to about 400 accommodation centres around Sydney where WYD08 Pilgrims will stay in July. Some packs will also be sent to Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra for the Days in the Diocese celebrations in the week preceding WYD08 in Sydney.


Around 500,000 people are expected to take part when Sydney hosts the 23rd World Youth Day from 15-20 July this year. The event will also mark the first visit to Australia by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.

WYD reaches out to youth online Launch of – Christ in the Third Millennium

Thursday 12 June 2008


In a first for any World Youth Day, an online social networking site – - was launched today by His Eminence Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney and Bishop Anthony Fisher, Coordinator of WYD08.


Hosted by Telstra, is the exclusive online social network for World Youth Day Sydney 2008 (WYD08) and will connect pilgrims with the Catholic Church and “virtual pilgrims” around the globe.


Cardinal Pell and Bishop Fisher co-launched the site at the Telstra Experience Centre with 100 young people, inviting them all to be their online friends.


“We are very excited to launch and to be helping young people and their friends plan their trip and share their faith and excitement for World Youth Day,” said Bishop Fisher.


“The name ‘Xt3’ was inspired by Pope John Paul II and stands for Christ in the Third Millenium. Pope John Paul II spoke of young people’s special task to bring the message of Christ to the world in the third Millennium.


“It is hoped that Xt3 users will continue to connect after World Youth Day in July, to build upon friendships made and continue dialogue about what it means to be a young person of faith,” he said. is the brainchild of two English brothers, John and Robert Toone and Chris Purslow who will continue to promote the site with the Archdiocese of Sydney after World Youth Day.


“This site has been launched in time for the Sydney event, but it is a legacy piece for the Catholic Church in Australia and the world,” said Robert Toone, Co-founder


“It is an online platform to enable pilgrims to connect with millions, share the experience and build a better world,” he said.  


Unique to the Xt3 social networking site will be faith connection features such as ‘Ask a Priest’ and ‘Prayer Intentions’ as well as the ability to create discussion groups and debates on contemporary issues.


Xt3 will also provide pilgrims with the ability to join official WYD08 groups, charity action groups and create their own interactive profiles.


Further features include private messaging; event calendars; the ability to embed other websites such as parish websites onto Xt3; and a video and multiple photo uploading facility.


Another important dimension to Xt3 is its capacity to coordinate and organize young people to do something to build a better world.


“It’s not enough just to talk,” said John Toone.


Xt3 wants its members to use the site to create initiatives in areas such as social justice, charitable activities, and spreading the Christian message in a secularized world. It will also be a way to link together Church agencies and existing groups to share resources and help each other.


More than 2,000 users joined the ‘alpha’ test site since February 2008 to provide testing, feedback, and to enhance the site in time for its worldwide launch.


“This will be the most interactive World Youth Day event to date with, Papal SMS’s and Digital Prayer Wall’s keeping pilgrims involved before, during and after the event, said Michael Rocca, Group Managing Director, Telstra Networks and Services.


WYD08 now invites everyone - including all WYD08 registered pilgrims – to join Xt3 at


The site will prove invaluable for sharing information – whether it be pilgrims planning their trip to WYD08, or administrators of religious educations programs hoping to create interactive forums for students and young adults.


A group of trained administrators will oversee Xt3 on a 24-hour basis to ensure that images, videos, comments and discussions are appropriate.
Aussie businesses on board to supply food for the masses; A Big WYD Aussie BBQ to be held

Sunday 8 June 2008


World Youth Day Sydney (WYD08) is supporting Australian food producers by putting in large orders to feed the masses during the July event.


With up to 125,000 international visitors from over 170 nations expected, organisers want to ensure they all have some dinky-di Australian food.


Approximately 25 million items have already been ordered. These will be used to serve breakfast at more than 400 accommodation venues, lunch at 250 catechesis sites and evening meals in the central city.


Over 900,000 hot evening meals, prepared by Easyfood in Victoria, will be served throughout the week at major city locations including Barangaroo, Hyde Park, Domain, Darling Harbour and the Sydney Opera House Forecourt.


In total, 3.5 million meals will be served during the entire event, said Director of Pilgrim Services, Geoff Morris.


“World Youth Day will be a fantastic event, and my team has the very special challenge of planning to feed the largest mobilisation of young people in Australia’s history,” Mr Morris said.


“We want to provide pilgrims with ‘a good feed’ and a little bit of an Australian taste. We have tried to do that by including some of our more iconic items such as Tim Tams, Weet-Bix crunch, vegemite, lamingtons and good old baked beans!”


Cadbury will provide 425,000 chocolate bars, produced at the Claremont plant in Tasmania, he said.


Mrs Macs has supplied over 200,000 traditional ‘Big Aussie Beef Pies’ for the event. Once a small operation in Perth, Mrs Macs now employs over 450 people and distributes throughout Australia and New Zealand.


Sanitarium will supply more than 300,000 servings of Weet-Bix crunch. The company buys 40,000 tonnes of traditional wheat grain for Weet-Bix crunch and its other cereals from Australian farmers each year. About 30,000 tonnes of wheat comes from south-west NSW alone.


The Aussie food theme will continue with a unique, never before attempted event at previous World Youth Days - a massive barbeque.


Dubbed the “WYD Big Aussie BBQ”, the iconic Aussie barbeque will be taken to new heights on Wednesday 16 July when over 120,000 pilgrims are expected to take part in around 200 locations.


“There’s no better way to welcome young people to our country than to host a traditional BBQ,” said Mr Morris.

Rotary Australia has offered its support to help host the WYD Big Aussie BBQ, together with parishes and Church community groups across greater Sydney. 


“As a member of Rotary International in Australia, I’m delighted that we have almost 80 Rotary Clubs from around Sydney involved in the WYD Big Aussie BBQ,” said Glenn Wran, District Governor Nominee, Rotary Australia.


“The WYD Big Aussie BBQ is a perfect example of how Rotary in Australia can be put into action to bring some happiness to young people from all around the globe.”


Tip Top will supply over 220,000 slices of bread for the WYD Big Aussie BBQ.


“Where possible, we have ordered food items with minimal or recyclable packaging to reduce the mount of waste,” Mr Morris said.


A list of the vast quantities of food being ordered is provided below.


Sydney will host the XXIII World Youth Day from 15 to 20 July. It is expected to draw 125,000 international visitors and 60,000 from outside Sydney to the Harbour city for six days of religious and cultural activities.


A Catholic event, open to all, it will also mark the first visit of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to Australia.

Aussie pop stars, ARIA award winners and the Tap Dogs to headline WYD Sydney 2008

Monday 9 June 2008


ARIA-award winners and Australian Idols Guy Sebastian and Damien Leith, together with Paulini, the Tap Dogs, teen opera sensation Tempus and singer/songwriter Gary Pinto head up an all-star cast for World Youth Day Sydney 2008.


This crew will perform a special concert on Tuesday 15 July at Barangaroo following the Opening Mass.


To kick-off World Youth Day the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell will celebrate an Opening Mass at 4.30pm with the 225,000 registered pilgrims.


The headline crew will then heat things up from 7pm with a three hour Welcome concert beginning with an indigenous dance performance and the Australian Girls Choir.


The week continues with a number of international sensations at major events and Youth Festival stages.


Those lucky enough to perform for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI at the Final Mass at Randwick Racecourse include Guy Sebastian and Paulini, Robert Galea, a singing seminarian from Malta, celebrated Australian opera singer and WYD08 Ambassador Amelia Farrugia, and Latin-style crooner German Silva.


They will perform the WYD08 anthem “Receive the Power” in the English and international versions.


Soulful African-American Gospel singer Francine Bell will also sing a Gospel Hymn for the Pope at the Final Mass and will also feature during the Stations of the Cross production on Friday 18 July.


Talented young Australian opera star Andrew Goodwin will join Amelia Farrugia performing cantor roles at the Final Mass.


Separate to the major events, but just as impressive is Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis conducted by Sydney Symphony’s Chief Conductor and Artistic Director Maestro Gianluigi Gelmetti. This will take place at the Sydney Opera House with a red-carpet event on Friday evening, 18 July and a second public performance on Saturday 19 July.


Sydney will host the 23rd World Youth Day from 15 -20 July. Hosted by the Catholic Church but open to all, WYD08 will mark the first visit by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to Australia. 

Young Australians selected for World Youth Day Choir and Orchestra

Monday 9 June 2008


An official WYD08 80-piece orchestra and 300-person youth choir have been selected to perform before His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI at World Youth Day 2008 (WYD08).


Organisers today announced the line-up of orchestras, choirs and soloists selected to perform at major events throughout the WYD08 week, 15-20 July.


The official WYD08 Choir and Orchestra will play before the largest crowd of 500,000 people and the Pope at the Final Mass on Sunday 20 July.


The 80-piece WYD08 Orchestra consists of a large number of performers from the Sydney Youth Orchestra (SYO), Catholic Schools Performing Arts (CaSPA) orchestra, and the SBS Youth Orchestra, along with other tertiary musicians and some professional players with most performers between 16-35 years old.


The WYD08 Choir will feature 200 singers from “Greater” Sydney, 100 singers from around Australia and five soloists. The choir will be prepared by 27-year old Sydney-based Chorusmaster, David Russell.


Amelia Farrugia and Andrew Goodwin, two of Australia’s brightest young opera stars, will each perform solo cantor roles at the Final Mass.


Eighteen year old Phoebe Humphreys from teenage opera sensation Tempus and 17-year old Sydney student Jordan Hunt will be the solo cantors for the Opening Mass on Tuesday 15 July before more than 225,000 people.


Fellow Tempus opera star, 19-year old Lauren Zolezzi, will have the honour of singing solo before the Pope at the Evening Vigil on Saturday 19 July.


Lauren will sing with the WYD08 Choir in several pieces including the WYD08 Marian Hymn Our Lady of the Southern Cross, composed by Rev Geoffrey Abdallah.


The WYD08 Choir and the three Orchestras will be conducted by young up-and-coming Australian conductor Benjamin Bayl, who has worked widely in the operatic sphere in London, Budapest, Barcelona and Sydney.


The WYD08 Choir and the three Orchestras will perform the English and international versions of the WYD08 Song Receive the Power at the opening and closing of each of the major events, excluding Stations of the Cross.


A number of other choirs and musical groups will perform live at major events throughout the WYD08 week.


Opening Mass – Tuesday 15 July 4.30pm – 6.30pm

  • SBS Youth Orchestra: performing the specially-commissioned WYD08 Mass Setting composed by George Palmer
  • WYD08 Choir
  • Solo cantors Phoebe Humphreys and Jordan Hunt
  • Performance from Irish singer and former politician Dana Scallon, who wrote and performed the theme song for WYD Denver in 1993

Papal Arrival – Thursday 17 July 2.45pm

  • Gondwana Voices and the Gondwana Indigenous Children’s Choir: performing a specially commissioned song Tu es Petrus by young Australian composer Daniel Walker
  • CaSPA Choir and CaSPA Orchestra

The Stations of the Cross – Friday 18 July 3pm – 6pm

  • St Mary’s Cathedral Choir (Station 1)
  • Gospel singer Francine Bell (Station 9 & 10)
  • Robert Galea, a singing seminarian from Malta (Station 13)

Evening Vigil – Saturday 19 July 7.00pm – 9.00pm

  • Sydney Youth Orchestra: performing hymns including the WYD08 Marian Hymn, Our Lady of the Southern Cross.
  • WYD08 Choir
  • Soloist Lauren Zolezzi
  • Ukrainian choir will perform two traditional pieces at the end of Adoration

Final Mass – Sunday 20 July 10am

  • WYD08 Orchestra and Choir
  • St Mary’s Cathedral Choir
  • Solo cantors Amelia Farrugia and Andrew Goodwin
  • Francine Bell: singing a communion hymn


“We are delighted that Sydney’s premier choirs and orchestras have come on board to perform at this momentous event,” said WYD08 Chief Operating Officer Danny Casey.


“When the youth of the world arrive at our major events or watch them unfold on television screens around the globe, they will witness not only the peace and joy that young people experience in a spiritual gathering, but also the spectacular musical talents that young Australians have to offer.


“The performances will no doubt be remembered as highlights in our musicians’ professional careers and personal lives,” he said.


Sydney will host the 23rd World Youth Day from 15-20 July this year. Hosted by the Catholic Church, but open to all, WYD08 is a week of cultural events and activities engaging young people from around the globe.

Sydney gets dressed for World Youth Day 2008

Friday 6 June 2008


In anticipation of the arrival of Pope Benedict XVI, organisers of World Youth Day Sydney 2008 (WYD08) have unveiled the banners and official colours that will decorate the city during the international event in July.


Around 2,500 banners will decorate the city from Sydney Airport to Darling Harbour’s foreshore, across the CBD and around Randwick Racecourse.


“The international spotlight will once again be on Sydney this July,” said WYD08 Coordinator Bishop Anthony Fisher OP.


“Just like every other major event, we want Sydneysiders to be part of the celebration. The look and feel of World Youth Day Sydney 2008 will make it clear that Sydney is ready to welcome our visitors for this very special celebration.”


There are four main colours and symbols involved in the ‘look and feel’, which are taken from the WYD08 logo, and focus on the events theme: You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses (Acts 1:8).


The red banners feature a cross and will be used in the most sacred spaces. The next colour is orange awash with the flame of the Holy Spirit. Moving further from the sacred spaces will be yellow banners with waves of the Sydney Opera House, and finally in the more public areas will be blue banners with water marks on them.  


“The colours of red, orange and yellow flowing throughout symbolise the trinity and unity of God,” said Bishop Anthony.


“They also bring to mind the colours of the Australian outback.


“The blue represents the waters of baptism, the sea of humanity and Mary full of grace. They also represent the oceans that surround Australia, and the magnificent Sydney harbour, the location of this great event,” he said.   


Styled by Sydney designers TRIA Consultants, the graphics and images blend Australian culture with the spiritual nature of World Youth Day.


“Throughout the design process, it has been very important to capture icons and colours that are central to our local culture and blend these with the spiritual nature of this pilgrimage,” said Bishop Anthony.


“The vibrancy of the WYD08 banners and flags will be hard to miss.”


Sydney will host the 23rd World Youth Day, a Catholic event open to all. The event will mark the first visit to Australia by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.

The Pope’s MC approves altar designs for World Youth Day 2008

Friday 6 June 2008


Monsignor Guido Marini, Master of Liturgical Ceremonies for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI today approved the designs and Australian themes for the sanctuary spaces for World Youth Day Sydney 2008 (WYD08).


Monsignor Marini is in Sydney this week with Monsignor William Millea and Monsignor Enrico Vigano to finalise all liturgical elements for the July event.


“We are very impressed with the designs of the sanctuary space,” said Monsignor Marini.


“The Holy Father will be happy with the youthful yet spiritual direction of the colours and designs as well as the incorporation of Australian themes.”


There will be two sanctuaries designed and built for the six day international gathering. The sanctuary is the holy structure that surrounds the altar, similar to a stage area.


The first sanctuary will be built at Barangaroo where the Tuesday Opening Mass and Thursday Papal Arrival will take place.


The second and showpiece sanctuary will be at Randwick Racecourse which will be used for the Vigil with the Pope on Saturday and the Final Mass, again with the Holy Father on Sunday.


At Randwick, the base of the sanctuary will be eight metres high and will feature a giant screen either side.


Southern Cross Precinct – the area that combines Randwick Racecourse and Centennial Park into one venue – will be dressed with bright, spiritual colours for the event, in accordance with the WYD08 ‘look and feel’ developed by Sydney design company TRIA Consultants.


Vibrant red, orange, yellow and blue shapes will feature across venue banners, fabric fencing, billboards and flags, echoing Australia’s unique landscape.


The sanctuary will also feature iconic Australian design elements such as the famous curves of the Sydney Opera House.


Indigenous Australian themes will also be prominently represented with imagery of Marjorie’s Bird - a painting depicting the Holy Spirit by Indigenous artist Marjorie Liddy – directly above the centre of the sanctuary beneath a giant cross.


At its extremities the sanctuary will measure 60 metres wide and 73 metres deep and will be covered by a 22 metre high roof.


“Creating a sacred and sound liturgical space on such a large scale was always going to be a challenge,” said Bishop Anthony Fisher OP, WYD08 Coordinator.


“The final designs are magnificent and will establish the perfect atmosphere for prayer, reflection and full participation in the liturgies.


“We are delighted to receive such positive feedback and strong endorsement from Monsignor Marini and his colleagues,” he said.


An 86 metre ramp from the racetrack to the sanctuary - for a pre-Mass procession - and specially designed tiered seating area will be erected for the 500 cardinals and bishops concelebrating the events.


The sanctuary will also seat the 300-strong WYD08 choir and 80-piece orchestra.


Sydney will host the 23rd World Youth Day from 15 – 20 July. Hosted by the Catholic Church but open to all, WYD08 will mark the first visit to Australia by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.

Papal security team inspect World Youth Day venues

Thursday 5 June 2008


Dr Domenico Giani, General Inspector of the Vatican Gendarmeria, is in Sydney this week inspecting venues and arrangements for the upcoming visit of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI in July for World Youth Day Sydney 2008 (WYD08).


With only 40 days to go to the event and the Papal itinerary released, final inspections and approvals are being made by the Vatican.


Dr Giani is accompanied by representatives from NSW Police and Federal government agencies on his visit.


“I wish to express my most sincere gratitude for the excellent work carried out by the World Youth Day organisation, the local Police Authorities, New South Wales Security and the Federal Government agencies,” said Dr Domenico Giani.


“I particularly appreciate the dedication of all of the men and women in different police departments who serve Australians every day, and who on this particular occasion extend their services to the Holy Father,” he said.


The team will inspect venues including Randwick Racecourse, Barangaroo, The Domain, St Mary’s Cathedral, Mary MacKillop Place, Government House and Admiralty House. 


Dr Giani oversees the police and security of the Vatican City, a position held since 2006. He is also the chief bodyguard of Pope Benedict XVI.


Dr Giani has organised the security for many Papal voyages including the recent tour to the United States of America in April 2008; visits to Austria and Brazil in 2007; and four movements in 2006 to Turkey, Germany, Spain and Poland.


“The momentum for World Youth Day is building and we know the Holy Father is looking forward to his travel to Sydney,” said Danny Casey, WYD08 Chief Operating Officer.


“Dr Giani’s team is working closely with the NSW Police and Australian authorities to ensure the smooth running of another Papal visit to Australia.


“There is a great wealth of experience among the Vatican and our local authorities. Dr Giani has coordinated seven Papal trips in three years, and our domestic teams have a magnitude of experience, organising visits by many Heads of States, dignitaries and three previous Papal tours of Australia,” he said.


Australia will become only the third nation (after Turkey and the United States) to have been visited by each of the three ‘travelling’ Popes – Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul II and now Pope Benedict XVI.

Australian Papal itinerary announced His Holiness to land at Richmond RAAF Base

Friday 30 May 2008


With just 46 days to go until World Youth Day Sydney 2008 (WYD08), the itinerary of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI was released today by the Holy See Press Office in the Vatican and is available for Australian media at 8am Friday 30 May.


The itinerary includes all of the engagements that the Pope will attend including official meetings with the Governor-General of Australia, Major General Michael Jeffery; Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd; NSW Governor Marie Bashir; and NSW Premier Morris Iemma.


His Holiness will arrive at Richmond RAAF Base on Sunday 13 July. He will then spend a few days resting before his official welcome into Sydney on Thursday 17 July on Sydney Harbour and Barangaroo.


Immediately before the Final Mass on Sunday 20 July, His Holiness will also do a fly-over in a helicopter above Centennial Park and Randwick Racecourse, before getting into the ‘Popemobile’ and circuiting the precinct.


This week, WYD08 organisers outlined several Papal encounters including a private lunch with 12 young people, a meeting with disadvantaged and at-risk youth and meetings with Christian leaders and the heads of other faith traditions.


The detailed itinerary also includes an official welcome at Government House, Sydney, a Thank You to volunteers in the Domain and an official farewell at Sydney airport.


“His Holiness has a very full schedule on his first visit to Australia,” said Bishop Anthony Fisher OP, Coordinator WYD08.


“He has requested specific meetings in order to connect with the full range of Australian youth and the youth of the world.


“As a Head of State, he will also be conducting several official meetings with civic leaders,” he said.


The Papal itinerary is available on the Vatican website:

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

Monday 26 May 2008


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.


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.

World Youth Day 2008 and Target launch clothing range

Tuesday 27 May 2008


Target stores nationally this week launched an exclusive World Youth Day Sydney 2008 (WYD08) clothing range.


The range of women’s and men’s apparel was created by Australian company Kid Crew Express, a leading manufacturer of women’s and children’s clothing.


This week all 159 Target stores nationally – including 27 NSW stores – will receive a second delivery of the WYD08 women’s and men’s apparel, completing the clothing range.


The women’s WYD08 range includes funky hoodies, caps and short and long sleeve t-shirts in two main colour schemes – red, white and grey, and navy, white and charcoal.


The men’s range features hoodies and t-shirts available in vibrant red, green or black designs, with all garments sporting variations of the ‘WYD08’ or ‘WYD SYD’ acronyms.


The range is targeted at 16-24 year olds, with sizes ranging from 8 – 18 (women’s) and XS to XXL (men’s). But Australians of all ages, shape and sizes are invited to wear the clothing.


“We are delighted to be joining with Target and Kid Crew Express in offering Australians another way to express their enthusiasm and support for World Youth Day Sydney 2008,” said Danny Casey, WYD08 Chief Operating Officer.


“I can’t wait to see young people – and the young at heart – wearing the garments with pride over the next two months and of course during the World Youth Day week.”


“Target is proud to be stocking this stylish range of clothing to celebrate and commemorate World Youth Day 2008,” said Lynn Semjaniv, Corporate Affairs Manager, Target Australia.


The red-grey women’s range and men’s t-shirts became available in Target stores early May. This week will see the arrival of the navy-charcoal apparel designs and the men’s hoodies.


The WYD08 apparel range retails between $16.99 and $39.99 per item.


For more information about other WYD08 clothing, merchandise and accessories, visit the WYD08 Shop:


Sydney will host the 23rd World Youth Day from 15 – 20 July. The event will mark the first visit to Australia by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.

Bishops endorse World Youth Day preparations

Wednesday 7 May 2008


The Catholic Bishops of Australia this week gave a resounding endorsement to the plans and preparations for the forthcoming World Youth Day celebrations.


The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) is currently in session for its bi-annual meeting and were fully briefed on progress regarding World Youth Day.


“We have all been delighted by the engagement of the Church throughout Australia, especially our young people, as well as the wider community, in the pastoral preparations for World Youth Day,” said Archbishop Philip Wilson, President of the ACBC. “The Journey of the World Youth Day Cross, Icon and Indigenous Message Stick have drawn extraordinary crowds and been a very moving experience for those who have attended them.”


“The progress of the World Youth Day Cross around our country has been a premonition of the extraordinary grace that is to come this July when the youth of the world and the Holy Father, gather with the Australian Church and community for the celebrations in Sydney,” he said.


“The briefings we received this week confirmed our confidence that the work of the World Youth Day team – in collaboration with all levels of Church, government and business – will yield much fruit in the lives of the young pilgrims and in the renewal of our Church and community,” the Archbishop said.


“The Bishops of Australia look forward to welcoming the Holy Father and the young people of the world in July. We call on all Australian youth to register now as pilgrims so they can take part in this wonderful celebration. We also invite people to share in the joy of this occasion by becoming World Youth Day volunteers, offering hospitality through the HomeStay programme, and attending the public events such as the Final Mass.”


The ACBC comprises the archbishops, bishops and auxiliary bishops of Australia’s 28 geographical dioceses, the military diocese, and the four Eastern Rite dioceses. Representative leaders of religious institutes, as well as the newly appointed Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto, were also in attendance at this week’s meeting.


Archbishop Lazzarotto commented on the excitement of the Holy Father about coming to WYD in Sydney and praised “the extraordinary efforts you are all making to prepare for his visit and for the celebration of the World Youth Day.”

World Youth Day 2008 program detailed

Friday 9 May 2008


Times and details of the major events at World Youth Day Sydney 2008 (WYD08) in July have been confirmed today.


WYD08 organisers also unveiled the name that will be used to identify the joint venues hosting the Evening Vigil and Final Mass with Pope Benedict XVI.


Royal Randwick Racecourse and nearby Centennial Park will be united in name as the Southern Cross Precinct during World Youth Day.


The timetable of events is:





Tuesday 15 July




Opening Mass with Cardinal Pell


Youth Festival (except during Opening Mass)



Sydney CBD locations

Wednesday 16 July




Catechesis sessions



Youth Festival (various events)

250+ locations across Sydney


Sydney CBD locations

Thursday 17 July





Catechesis sessions


Papal Arrival via Boat-a-cade commences

Youth Festival (except during Papal events)

250+ locations across Sydney


Sydney Harbour and Barangaroo

Sydney CBD locations

Friday 18 July







Catechesis sessions



Stations of the Cross



Youth Festival (except during Stations of the Cross)

250+ locations across Sydney


St Mary’s Cathedral,
Barangaroo, Darling Harbour, Sydney Opera House Forecourt, Domain

Sydney CBD locations

Saturday 19 July




Pilgrimage Walk


Evening Vigil with the Pope

Sydney Harbour Bridge through city to
Southern Cross Precinct

Southern Cross Precinct

Sunday 20 July






Papal motorcade commencing in Centennial Park


Final Mass with the Pope

Announcement of next host city

Youth Festival (various events)

Southern Cross Precinct


More information is available at


Sydney will host the 23rd World Youth Day from 15 – 20 July this year. It will be the largest event Australia has hosted and will mark the first visit by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to Australia.

Telstra answers the call – Pope to send daily text messages to young people during World Youth Day

Wednesday 7 May 2008


In a World Youth Day first, Pope Benedict XVI will send text messages of hope and inspiration directly to pilgrims, reaching young people in their social space.


The service will be made possible by Telstra, announced today as the official telecommunications partner of World Youth Day 2008 (WYD08).


“We wanted to make WYD08 a unique experience by using new ways to connect with today’s tech-savvy youth,” said WYD08 Coordinator, Bishop Anthony Fisher OP.


“Our partnership with Telstra will help us do that.”


Telstra will provide voice, data, mobile, broadband and broadcast services to WYD08, connecting 8000 volunteers, 2000 clergy, 3000 media and an anticipated 225,000 pilgrims to more than 700 locations around the greater Sydney area.


“Telstra’s involvement will ensure that WYD08 will be the most innovative World Youth Day to date,” Bishop Fisher said.


One-of-a-kind Telstra services planned for WYD08 include:

  • Daily inspirational text messages from Pope Benedict XVI 
  • Digital Prayer Walls at event sites 
  • Hosting the official WYD08 online social networking site,
  • Telstra precincts - on the ground interactive centre’s including wireless internet, green screen studios, commemorative WYD08 photo messaging and music downloads. 
  • Next G™ Regional Catechesis webcasting


Mr Michael Rocca, Telstra Group Managing Director Telstra Networks and Services, said Telstra was the only provider in Australia with the proven size, scale and innovation to deliver these services to WYD08.


“Just as we did for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, 2003 Rugby World Cup and the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games, Telstra will bring participants closer to the event through new media and telecommunications services, allowing youth to interact with WYD08 events,” he said.


“We are thrilled to be a part of this major global event and we are happy to be providing world class telecommunications to WYD08 participants and organisers,” he said.

Pope to thank volunteers after WYD08 SOCOG chief Sandy Hollway invites all to get on board for another major event

Tuesday 13 May 2008


His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI will hold a special audience with the 8,000 people who volunteer for World Youth Day (WYD08) to thank them for their hard work and dedication.


WYD08 organisers today confirmed that instead of holding a tickertape parade, all WYD08 volunteers will be invited to an exclusive event with Pope Benedict before he boards his return flight to Rome.


“This will be a wonderful way to thank the 8,000 people who will have devoted their time to become the face of World Youth Day,” said WYD08 Chief Operating Officer, Danny Casey.


The Pope’s enthusiasm for the volunteer spirit is joined by Sandy Hollway, the man who led the ‘best Olympics Games ever’.


The former SOCOG CEO is calling on Australians to once again unleash their volunteer spirit and welcome the world to this happy and peaceful celebration.


“We are still remembered for the generosity and altruism that around 47,000 volunteers displayed during the Sydney 2000 Olympics,” Mr Hollway said.


“I’m keen to ensure that Sydney once again showcases Australia’s renowned hospitality at the largest event we have hosted since the Olympic Games.


“With World Youth Day just 10 weeks away, Sydney has another great chance to shine.”


WYD08 only has around 8,000 volunteer roles on offer and organisers have already received applications from 5,000 people.

Roles are available in:

  • operations and crowd management
  • customer service
  • language and translations
  • staffing,
  • hospitality & catering
  • accommodation
  • production
  • communications
  • liturgy and evangelisation

“Volunteers will take away more than just unforgettable experiences and fond memories of their participation, but also the knowledge that they were part of something huge - a significant page in Australia’s history,” said WYD08 Chief Operating Officer Danny Casey.


Volunteers must be over the age of 18 and be able to work during the event week 15 – 20 July, and will receive a uniform, backpack and assistance with public transport costs and meals.


WYD08 is taking applications now. For more information and to apply, visit or call 02 9390 5997.    


Hosted by the Catholic Church but open to all, WYD08 will mark the first visit by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to Australia. 

World Youth Day 2008 encourages Sydneysiders to have THE TIME OF YOUR ETERNAL LIFE

Friday 16 May 2008


World Youth Day 2008 organisers are encouraging Sydneysiders to take part in the July event through an advertising campaign featuring the tagline: “World Youth Day - The time of your eternal life”.


The integrated campaign is aimed at the Sydney market with the main message that World Youth Day is open to all and bigger than one would expect.


“We know that many Sydneysiders are keen to be involved in the largest celebration Sydney has ever hosted and this campaign aims to tap into this goodwill,” WYD08 Chief Operating Officer, Danny Casey said. 


“Catholics are the largest religious grouping in Sydney but many are not regular churchgoers; we want to make sure all are welcome.”


The campaign includes a mix of metropolitan and suburban print, FM radio, online, outdoor and television media, which began on 20 April and continues to mid July.   


The campaign includes door-drops to half a million Sydney homes, inviting them to volunteer, become a HomeStay host or attend events during the WYD08 week. 


“The creative is designed to emotionally reach the audience, just as the event will when 225,000 registered pilgrims and tens of thousands of others celebrate during the WYD08 week,” Mr Casey said. 


“As part of the campaign, we also have tactical messages focusing on recruiting HomeStay hosts and volunteers,” he said.


Advertising agency DRAFTFCB developed the creative for the Above and Below-The-Line activity.


The Head of Strategic Services at DRAFTFCB Sydney, Jonathan Samengo, said the campaign was not only aimed at the broader Christian audience.


“It’s important for the Church that Catholics feel very proud of both the event and how it’s being positioned. It’s like the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics. At the Sydney Olympics organisers not only had to showcase Australia to the world, they had to ensure the event reflected modern Australia and how we really see ourselves.”


Other tactical headlines include:

  • Happiness – one souvenir you’ll definitely take home
  • An excellent source of pure joy
  • Find total serenity in a crowd of thousands

The WYD08 television commercial is available to view on the WYD08 website.

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

Vatican officials confirm Pope Benedict will visit Mary MacKillop shrine

Tuesday 20 May 2008


His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI will visit the shrine of Australia’s saint-in-waiting, Blessed Mary MacKillop, during his visit to Sydney in July.


The visit was confirmed by Vatican officials, in Sydney this week to inspect planning and preparations for World Youth Day 2008 (WYD08).


Papal Trips Organiser, Alberto Gasbarri, and Protocol Officer from the Papal Office, Paulo Corvini, arrived yesterday to approve the final stages of WYD08 preparations and approve elements of the Holy Father’s itinerary.


Today we can confirm that the Holy Father will visit the tomb of Blessed Mary MacKillop, one of WYD08’s 10 patrons” said WYD08 Coordinator Bishop Fisher OP.


“Mary MacKillop’s story of serving the poor and the uneducated is inspiring to all Australians and we hope she will also inspire the youth of the world.”


The Apostolic Nuncio to Australia, Archbishop Guiseppe Lazzarotto, confirmed the Holy Father will pray at Mary MacKillop’s tomb in North Sydney during his stay.


“The Holy Father will be one of the thousands of pilgrims who will visit her shrine in July,” Archbishop Lazzarotto said.


“He 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.”


Pope Benedict will spend eight days in Australia, including three days of private rest and reflection prior to his official arrival on Sydney Harbour on 17 July.


Australia will become only the third nation (after Turkey and the United States) to have been visited by each of the three ‘travelling’ Popes – Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul II and now Pope Benedict XVI.


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 Pope Benedict’s first visit to Australia.

WYD08 releases Papal Vigil hymn for Australian parishes

Wednesday 23 April 2008


World Youth Day Sydney 2008 (WYD08) organisers have released the score to Our Lady of the Southern Cross, the hymn that will be sung before His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI at the Evening Vigil on Saturday 19 July. 


The score for Our Lady of the Southern Cross is available on the WYD08 website:


The score will allow Australian parishes to rehearse the hymn in preparation for the Evening Vigil at Randwick Racecourse.


The Evening Vigil is a key component of the WYD08 week of events with around 225,000 pilgrims expected to gather before the Pope for prayerful worship and spiritual reflection, followed by a ‘sleep-out’ under the stars.


“Our Lady of the Southern Cross is the Marian hymn for World Youth Day 2008 and we hope parishes around the globe will take the time to become familiar with the song over the coming months,” said Fr Peter Williams, WYD08 Director of Liturgy.


“The hymn is an original composition and it will be a beautiful and deeply moving moment when hundreds of thousands of voices unite to sing the hymn by candlelight before the Holy Father in July,” he said.


Parishes are able to reproduce the score for teaching purposes and performance within a parish.   


Congregational parts in the score are identical to those that will be performed by the choir at the WYD08 Evening Vigil.


The music was composed by Rev. Geoffrey Abdallah, Dean of St Maroun’s Maronite Cathedral in Redfern, Sydney. The text was written by Sr Pauline Smith RSM.


The Evening Vigil at WYD08 will help pilgrims prepare themselves spiritually for the Pope’s return the following morning to celebrate the Final Mass, expected to draw up to 500,000 people.


Sydney will host the 23rd World Youth Day from 15 – 20 July this year. Hosted by the Catholic Church, but open to all, the event will also mark the first visit to Australia by the Pope.