Monday, October 16, 2006

Cardinal Pell: latest on WYD

This is the latest on WYD2008 from His Eminence, George Cardinal Pell, himself.
The World Youth Day celebrations in July 2008 will be bigger than the Sydney Olympics as about half a million people will attend the final Mass on Sunday, July 20th at Randwick.

Pope Benedict XVI, 500 bishops and thousands of priests will celebrate this Mass, the climax of a varied programme of events after the Opening Mass on the Tuesday night.

Every category of young person is invited to these Catholic celebrations to see and hear what the Catholic tradition has to offer.

While we hope to welcome Pope Benedict’s arrival through the heads of Sydney Harbour on Thursday night, there will be teaching sessions for the pilgrims on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday mornings.

Another highlight is the Way of the Cross through the streets of Sydney on the Friday afternoon, when young Australians will re-enact Jesus’ progress from his condemnation by the Roman governor Pontius Pilate to his crucifixion on Mt. Calvary.

Between 80,000 to 120,000 overseas visitors will fly into Australia. This is too many for Sydney airport and requires extra flights.

While pilgrims will have to pay to register, the major cost will be for travel. The registration fee for the young people includes a levy to help those from poorer countries and the contribution of the Australian pilgrims will be directed towards visitors from the Pacific region and Papua New Guinea.

Negotiations have started with the various airlines to obtain significant reductions in the price of the air tickets to reflect the huge increase in numbers.

Many pilgrims in Europe and the United States have already started saving, with the Catholic Bank in Germany offering increased rates of interest for pilgrims. As always many parishes will help sponsor parishioners who will organize local fund-raising ventures of their own.

Ten days ago a delegation of three came from the Vatican to monitor preparations. They were well pleased by progress so far and pleasantly surprised by the level of support outside the Catholic community and especially from the Federal and N.S.W. Governments. Such co-operation does not occur everywhere.

Young people today grow up with computers, but it was different in my youth. I have been staggered by the number of visits to the World Youth Day website, which has received 9.3 million hits since it was launched on Palm Sunday, April 9th. They are still coming in at the rate of more than 50,000 a day.

Another surprise is that Germany, which hosted the W.Y.D. last year in Cologne, tops the list with 2.2 million hits, followed by Australia 1.67 million, U.S.A. on 1.51 million and Italy with 670,000.

Interest in Australia is building steadily from 170,000 hits in June to 342,000 in September, while 10,500 young people are registered to receive regular updates on ePILGRIMAGE.

We have started well, but the major challenges are yet to come.


Anonymous said...

It doesn't compare to Low Mass in the early hours of the morning... I confess I am not fond of any type of mega Mass - even one for an occasion as wonderful as this. I don't see the purpose.

aaron said...

yes, but not Low Mass! Why not go a Missa Cantata at least. If the priest can sing you have all the instruments for a missa canatata -- he sings his own propers! Lovely to go to Mass early morning with maybe 3 of you in the Church and father is singing Mass in Re or Orbis factor with the sole server.

Anonymous said...

Yes, but there is something so edifying that is particular to a Low Mass - something especially mystical when compared to something exhausting like that mentioned in the article. Too much noise.

LYL said...

Well, I don't think WYD is meant merely for our comfort, nor just for the edification of the faithful. It is meant as much as anything to be a witness to the world of God and His Church.

I don't care for crowds either, but we are planning to go with our 4 young children who will be ages 5 to 11 by then (assuming we don't have more babies).

It may not be everyone's cup of tea - but I'm greatly looking forward to it.

And hopefully many, many Australians and other pilgrims, will be deeply touched by the whole thing.

I pray it will be part of a Great Awakening in this country!