It’s World Youth Day 2008 in Sydney, Australia! The largest youth gathering in the world, instituted by Pope JPII, WYD is week long event of Catholic solidarity held every 3 or 4 years. What an empowering experience! I’ve been to the one in Toronto in 2002 and saw Pope JPII from a few feet! But watching WYD on tv right now, i feel renewed like I’m almost there!
Pope Benedict XVII officially arrived in Sydney on Wednesday. And he came by boat, flanked by a “boat-a-cade” with youth accompanying him. How appropriate that the successor of St. Peter the fisherman would show up in a boat (which he also did for WYD in Germany in 2005)! There was a lot of energy and everyone appeared so ecstatic to be there—most especially the Holy Father! What an awesome welcome he got! And what a view of the ocean, bridge and opera house!
There at Barangaroo—real Australian sounding— youth from all over the world awaited the Holy Father to disembark and talk with them. Cardinal Pell gave a rousing welcome with a great line—“The papacy is ancient. Not as ancient as our aboriginal peoples who lived on this harsh continent for tens of thousands of years even before the birth of Our Lord, Jesus Christ… But more than 900 years before there was a King of England there was a Pope in Rome.”