Tuesday, July 15, 2008

World Youth Day

World Youth Day is a youth-oriented Roman Catholic Church promotional event. It celebrates the Catholic faith, young people are invited without discrimination

World Youth Day was initiated by Pope John Paul II in 1984. It is celebrated on a diocesan level annually, and at a week-long international level every two to three years at different locations.

This year it is being held in Sydney
An estimated 150,000 pilgrims from around Australia and the world chanted sang and danced their way to Barangaroo* (1), near Sydney's Darling Harbour.

The opening mass was delivered by Cardinal George Pell, the leader of the Catholic church in Australia. He offered greetings in the four official language groups, before addressing the English-speaking pilgrims of the world.

Part of the celebrations included, the pre-mass celebrations at Barangaroo included a flag ceremony followed by the arrival of the WYD cross and a large religious icon depicting Madonna and child, both of which have traveled around Australia for the past 12 months.

Casey Donovan, the singer who rose to fame on the reality talent show Australian Idol, then joined other indigenous performers, including dancers and didgeridoo players from around Australia and the Torres Strait Islands.

Cheers rang out as Prime Minister Kevin Rudd took the stage with a wave to welcome the faithful in several languages, including German, Italian and French.
To the Australian pilgrims, he said: "G'Day, and have a great time Down Under".
Our first reading today was from Ezekiel, with Isaiah and Jeremiah, one of the three greatest Jewish prophets," Pell said.

(1)The area Barangaroo was once known as "East Darling Harbour".

The name "Barangaroo”, is in honour of an important indigenous woman from Sydney's early history who was a colourful and powerful figure in the story of the first colonisation of Australia.

Barangaroo was also the wife of Bennelong, after whom Bennelong Point - the site of the Sydney Opera House - is named. This means that the naming also completes an historical bookending between the eastern and western points of Sydney's CBD.