Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Sydney World Youth Day 15 - 20 July 2008: 55 Days To Go

Every morning going to work, there is an electronic sign on the M4 highway counting down the number of days before the Sydney World Youth Day 2008. Obviuosly I wasn't paying too much attention since I am driving.

Today, I noticed that there is only 55 days to go! How time flies.

The event is as big as the Olympic in Sydney in 2000, that the government advises people to take a leave from work. As it is, the traffic in most major thoroughfares in Sydney are jammed especially during rush hours.

I received the above flyer at home "advertising" the event. Even friends from the Philippines are contacting me that their sons and daughters are coming. According to the WDY08 site there is an expected 125,000 overseas visitors.

The event is really more than a day, it's nearly a week, starting from Tuesday, 15 July; culminating on the Sunday, 20 July as the actual World Youth Day, with a Final Mass by the Pope.

Some of the firsts are:

This is the first time the new Pope, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, first visit to Australia. A very important event to most Catholics.

The first time it would be held in Australia.

And it is the single biggest event ever hosted in Australia.

According to the site the World Youth Day was "Organised by the Catholic Church, WYD brings together young people from around the globe to celebrate and learn about their faith on a more regular basis."

"Through the WYD08 experience, young people from throughout the world will make a pilgrimage in faith, meet, and experience the love of God.

World Youth Day is an invitation from the Pope to the youth of the world to celebrate their faith around a particular theme. Everyone is welcome to attend.

The WYD08 theme, received from Pope Benedict XVI is:

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

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

According to the WYD08 site, Pope John Paul II was inspired by the response during the 1984 Youth Jubilee and the United Nations International Year of the Youth the following year.

In 1986, the first World Youth Day was held in Rome and subsequently every year during Palm Sunday at the Diocesan level . Only every second or third year that an international gathering is held and international hosts are sought.

The biggest ever gathering was in the Philippines in 1995, with a final Mass attendance of 4 million!

(For more information and key statistics of the upcoming WYD/SYD08, click here.)

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