Melbourne (Agenzia Fides) - Religious congregations, Church movements and associations have started preparation for World Youth Day in Sydney 2008 with meetings of prayer and reflection, in order to become a point of reference for their respective members who will travel to Australia for the major Church event in two years time. Following Pope Benedict XVI’s recent meeting with new Church Movements and Communities in Rome to celebrate the Vigil of Pentecost Bishop Kevin Manning of Paramatta diocese called for a “springtime of mission” in Oceania. The Catholic Bishops of Australia have urged lay people, Church movements, youth groups to play an ever more active part in the life of their local Church and to help foster especially spiritual preparation for World Youth Day. The Bishops are convinced the WYD will help young people in Australia rediscover spiritual values and faith in Jesus Christ. It will give new life to Christians on the continent and be an exceptional event for young and old, provoking reflection and conversion of heart and life”.
During a recent meeting the Salesian community in Australia said the theme chosen by the Pope for WYD “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses" (Acts 1:8)” - is most appropriate for the situation in Australia and that the day will be an opportunity to kindle the fire of mission in young hearts as the official slogan states “The fire in the heart of God”. Salesian Fathers and the female branch Daughters of Mary Help of Christians intend to increase their collaboration with lay people working with youth in schools, youth voluntary work, in agreement with the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference. During the week-long World Youth Day in 2008 Salesians also plan to hold a Salesian Day in Sydney where they have two large communities well equipped to accommodate a large group of young WYD participants.
In preparation for WYD 2008, youth pastoral delegates, bishops, experts, theologians, religious active lay Catholics from all over Australia will gather 3 and 4 July in Sydney for a meeting, “Builders and Dreamers”. Youth leaders and people working with youth, such as catechists, teachers, leaders of parish groups and associations are also invited. (Agenzia Fides 12/6/2006 righe 29 parole 294)