OCEANIA/AUSTRALIA - World Youth Day organisation engine steams ahead: “this is a great opportunity for new evangelisation”

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Sydney (Agenzia Fides) - While the pilgrimage of World Youth Day symbols, the Cross accompanied by the Icon of Our Lady 'Seat of Wisdom', continues across Australia warmly welcomed with prayers and celebration, in Sydney preparations for the great event go ahead. The 23rd World Youth Day will be held in here from 15 to 20 July 2008, and the theme for reflection chosen by Pope Benedict XVI are the words of Jesus “ You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses ” (Acts 1:8)”.
Groups and individuals continue to register for the event while the organising committee is planning hospitality for the young pilgrims, about 500,000 are expected. In fact one important aspect of WYD is that the young visitors are welcomed by local families into their homes and this leads to sharing of cultures and reciprocal enrichment.
Another now traditional part of WYD events which follow morning catechesis given in different languages by pilgrim bishops from all over the world, are the afternoon Youth Festival. The Youth festival is a multicultural combination of song, dance, testimonies of Christian life style, reflection meditation and prayers. Liturgy teams comprising priests, religious, seminarians and lay persons will be on the spot to ensure all goes well. Thousands of WYD volunteers will be registered and trained to help the many participants live an extraordinary spiritual experience
The organisers say in this sector much remains to be done to complete the animation teams and they call on young people to offer their services. WYD is also a time to present the different Christian 'vocations' the priestly life, the religious life and the married life, because everyone has a vocation to 'holiness'. WYD in Sydney will have a Vocations Expo with stands manned by men and women religious of various congregations, many of them missionaries ready to talk about their lives and experience.
Bishop Anthony Fisher, auxiliary Bishop of Sydney and WYD coordinator, said preparation for this great Church event is about organisation but it is mainly spiritual: “We want our young people to realise they must spread the Good News and evangelise the present day culture which - particularly in Australia - is increasingly secularised to the point that people are becoming indifferent to God. WYD in Sydney is already proving a great opportunity for new evangelisation” the Bishop concluded. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 13/9/2007 righe 28 parole 291)