World Youth Day

“Walk in Christ’s light daily through fidelity to personal and liturgical prayer, nourished by meditation on the inspired word of God…Make the daily celebration of the Eucharist the center of your life.
Pope Benedict at World Youth Day in Australia July 18, 2008

The History of World Youth Day

The idea to create World Youth Day was conceived in the extraordinary Holy Year 1983-1984. The Eternal City was invaded by associations, societies, fraternities and groups of all sorts.

One of the volunteers of the San Lorenzo International Center…Don Massimo Camisasca of “Communion and Liberation,” asked: “In this Holy Year, why don’t we also hold an international meeting of youth?”—Cardinal Cordes, July 15, 2008

World Youth Day History

World Youth Day is a youth-oriented Roman Catholic Church event. While the event itself celebrates the Catholic faith, invitation to attend is non-denominational.

World Youth Day (or in short ‘WYD’) was initiated by Pope John Paul II in 1986. It is celebrated on a diocesan level annually, and at a week-long international level every two to three years at different locations. The international level events attract hundreds of thousands of youth from almost every country on the planet.

July 2007
Message of the Holy Father Benedict XVI
to the young people of the world

    My dear young friends!
    “…Therefore it is very important that each one of you young people…should be able to reflect on this Principal Agent of salvation history, namely the Holy Spirit or the Spirit of Jesus…especially as you rediscover that the Holy Spirit is the “soul”, the vital breath of Christian life itself, through the sacraments of Christian initiation—Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist

    “…faith is born and is strengthened within us through the Sacraments, particularly those of Christian initiation: Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist, which are complementary and inseparable (cf. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1285)

    …There are also young people who have not even received this sacrament. Yet it is through the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and then, in an ongoing way, the Eucharist, that the Holy Spirit makes
    us children of the Father
    , brothers and sisters of Jesus, members of
    his Church,

    I would like to add a word about the Eucharist. In order to grow in our Christian life, we need to be nourished by the Body and Blood of Christ…

    “Source and summit” of the Church’s life, the Eucharist is a “perpetual Pentecost” since every time we celebrate Mass we receive the Holy Spirit who unites us more deeply with Christ and transforms us into Him

    “…Once again I repeat that only Christ can fulfil the most intimate aspirations that are in the heart of each person. Only Christ can humanize humanity and lead it to its ‘divinization” …”

July 7, 2008
Pope grants indulgences for World Youth Day

    Those who “gather at Sydney, Australia, in the spirit of pilgrimage” to participate in celebrations for 23rd World Youth Day, will be able to receive a full or plenary indulgence, the decree says..

    “Indeed,” the decree adds, “young people gathered around the Vicar of Christ will participate in the sacred functions and above all have recourse to the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist…”

July 14, 2008
Sydney’s Muslims Welcome International Catholic Pilgrims

By Phil Mercer Sydney

    “…Roman Catholic leaders in Australia sought the help of other faiths to help house an army of foreign pilgrims arriving for the World Youth Day events this week.
Sydney’s Muslim community responded with an offer to accommodate young visitors in Islamic schools.

    “Islamic leaders here see World Youth Day as an opportunity to break down barriers between the faiths.
Father Mark Podesta, a Catholic priest, says the involvement of Islamic schools is an important step forward…

Youth Day Conversions Begin
By Anthony Barich Sydney, Australia, July 14, 2008

World Mission Day:
All must play a role in spreading the Gospel, Pope proclaims

July 15, 2008
Young Catholics kick off World Youth Day in Sydney

By Tim Johnston, International Herald Tribune

    World Youth Day, which the Roman Catholic Church describes as the largest gathering of young people on the planet, got under way in a carnival atmosphere Tuesday, with more than 140,000 people celebrating Mass on a wharf at Sydney Harbor…

    The Mass that followed marked the formal beginning of six days of celebrations that will culminate Sunday with a Mass offered by Pope Benedict XVI before a predicted audience of 500,000 people…

    Many Australians are also uncomfortable that the local and federal governments are subsidizing the event with more than 150 million Australian dollars, or about $147 million…

    The pope has indicated that he will offer an apology for past acts of sexual abuse by Catholic priests, as he did on his recent visit to the United States.

July 19, 2008
Eucharistic Adoration
Under the Southern Cross with Over 200,000

    “…On the edge of the Racecourse is the Eucharistic adoration tent with all-night adoration. The tent is being operated by the Missionaries of Charity. When I stopped in this evening it was completely filled.

    “Along with the Eucharistic Body of Christ, the tent also contained a large crucifix with the words “I thirst” written on top. That statement of Christ’s, of course, is the statement that propelled Mother Teresa oward her work with the poorest of the poor.

    “The evening prayer service was quite nice this evening. The Holy Father spoke about how to identify the Holy Spirit, using St. Augustine as his jumping off point…

    “After the message, there was Eucharistic adoration, Exposition, and Benediction. I wish I could convey the awesomeness of quiet adoration, with more than 200,000 pilgrims on their knees in silent prayer…”
    —Tim Drake

July 19, 2208
This Morning’s Mass

    The plans this morning call for Pope Benedict XVI to board a helicopter and fly over the crowd at the “Southern Cross Precinct” at 8:45 a.m.
    The final Mass will commence at 10 a.m.
    The Pope will be wearing a specially designed WYD08 chasuble.
    Here are a few other interesting facts:
    – 600 chalices will be used by clergy, bishops and priests during the Mass.
    – 1,300 ciboria will be used, each holding 250 communion hosts.
    – 3,000 priests will be located in the front pods at Randwick.
    – 1,000 other acolytes and extraordinary ministers will provide communion to those at the rear of Randwick Racecourse and nearby Centennial Park.
    – All those distributing communion will be accompanied by an escort carrying a blue umbrella.
    – No bishops will be giving communion.
    – Communion is expected to take 25 minutes.

Benedict’s Australian Triumph

    Well, the Final Mass has concluded. The official attendance figure given this afternoon is that 350,000 people participated in the final Mass. Like all WYD Final Masses, it was massive. With the seven candlesticks and the crucifix on the altar, some commentators were remarking on its more traditional look.

July 21, 2008 Pope Warns Youth Against Self-Absorption
By Tim Johnston

    Pope Benedict XVI led a communion Mass before a crowd estimated by the organizers at 400,000 on Sunday in Sydney.

    SYDNEY, Australia — In his final address to hundreds of thousands of young Catholics gathered in Australia, Pope Benedict XVI…spoke at a Mass culminating six days of events constituting World Youth Day, which the Roman Catholic Church said was the largest gathering ever of young people. More than 400 bishops and 26 cardinals also attended the Mass…

    “…The pope announced that World Youth Day would next be held in Madrid in 2011.

World Youth Day Sydney 2008

    World Youth Day (WYD) is the largest youth event in the world and was held in Sydney from Tuesday 15 to Sunday 20 July 2008.

    WYD08 attracted 223,000 registered pilgrims, including 110,000 from 170 nations making it the largest event ever hosted in Australia.

    1.1 million communion hosts were produced for WYD Masses and 1,000 priests heard confessions.—WYD Numbers


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