OCEANIA/AUSTRALIA - World Youth Day 2008 preparations full steam ahead: meeting with representatives of the Australian Muslim community, recruitment of volunteers, catechesis session programme

Monday, 3 September 2007

Sydney (Agenzia Fides) - The invitation made by Pope Benedict XVI at Loretto to young Italians at the recent Youth Agorà to take part in WYD 2008, gave new impulse to the organisers of World Youth Day Sydney, 15 to 20 July 2008. Already 185,000 pilgrims have registered (of whom about 50,000 are Australians), the organisers underline the ecumenical and interreligious value of the event which bears a message of universal brotherhood. The organisers have already had a meeting with representatives of the Australian Muslim community, and a similar meeting with representatives of Australia's Jewish community is also planned. Moreover members of all the Christian confessions in Australia are involved in the event.
Bishop Anthony Fisher, OP, WYD said the recent meeting with the Muslim representatives was an opportunity to discuss ways in which the local Muslim community might contribute to this event organised by the Catholic Church and potential beneficial repercussions in the field of interreligious dialogue.
The organisers have started registering young people anxious to play an active role in the WYD: they are looking for some 8,000 volunteers - Australians and from other countries- to collaborate in the organisation and celebration of the greatest youth meeting ever held in Australia. The volunteers will guarantee “service of order”, referents for groups from other countries for logistic accommodation, they will be on duty for the sessions of catechesis for three consecutive mornings during the week of WYD. The sessions will be conducted by 300 bishops from all over the world and will offer the pilgrims an opportunity to deepen their faith.
The organisers expect about 500,000 participants at World Youth Day 2008 in Sydney. The event will also mark Pope Benedict XVI 's first visit to Australia. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 3/9/2007 righe 27 parole 282)