Sydney (Agenzia Fides) - There is a growing spirit of solidarity and charity among young Australian and New Zealand Catholics: parish communities, schools, church movements and associations, are doing their best to help young people from poor countries take part in the World Youth Day in Sydney next year 15 to 20 July.
One initiative to promote this solidarity, the Pilgrim Partnership and Support Programme, was illustrated at a recent meeting of Bishops in Sydney.
The programme consists of direct twinning between parishes and schools in Australia and New Zealand with parishes and schools in poor countries in Africa, in Asia and Oceania, to help young people who could never meet the expenses of an intercontinental journey. The programme will also involve schools in Oceania, East Timor, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands. The young Australians will arrange everything for their less fortunate 'twins' travel expenses, entry permit, accommodation, meals, and any other necessary assistance.
“This is a wonder way to express concrete and direct solidarity. It will put the young people in contact, help build friendships which will remain even after WYD”, said Bishop Philip Wilson, president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Australia, presenting the initiative.
According to WYD general co-ordinator Mgr Anthony Fisher, Australia, which is hosting the WYD for the first time must do all it can to encourage and facilitate participation from all over the world: “And we are encouraging all Australians to make their contribution so that as many young people as possible are able to take part in the great event”. The organisers expect about 500,000 participants and hope for the presence of Pope Benedict XVI. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 7/5/2007 righe 27 parole 274)