To borrow a line from the co-host of Life on the Rock—if World Youth Day 2008 in Australia was an atomic bomb, we’re now experiencing the fallout.
The genius of World Youth Day is that it brings Catholic youth (the future of the Church) together from all over the world, united with the Pope (the Universal Pastor), to fellowship, for solidarity and most importantly to experience the love of the Father, encounter Jesus Christ and to be strengthened by the Holy Spirit! Renewal. Transformation. Witness. It is like an enormous bonfire that spreads to every corner of the world. The Holy Spirit sets everyone on fire and they go back to set their world ablaze—it is Pentecost revisited!
The theme and logo for WYD ’08 evocatively captured this. The theme: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8). The logo: the Sydney Operahouse (symbolizing the venue) in the form of flames.
A momentous occasion largely overlooked by much of the media, WYD is hope for the world. I’m thinking that the Church keeps the world going! Bringing new life into the world every generation unto the end of the ages.
Here’s Pope Benedict (at the Final Mass):
In every age, and in every language, the Church throughout the world continues to proclaim the marvels of God and to call all nations and peoples to faith, hope and new life in Christ.
In these days I too have come, as the Successor of Saint Peter, to this magnificent land of Australia. I have come to confirm you, my young brothers and sisters, in your faith and to encourage you to open your hearts to the power of Christ’s Spirit and the richness of his gifts. I pray that this great assembly, which unites young people “from every nation under heaven” (cf. Acts 2:5), will be a new Upper Room.
May the fire of God’s love descend to fill your hearts, unite you ever more fully to the Lord and his Church, and send you forth, a new generation of apostles, to bring the world to Christ! “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you”