World Youth Day 2008

World Youth Day 2008

Infobox World Youth Day
title = XXIII World Youth Day 2008
imagefile = Wyd08logo.png location = Sydney, Australia
date = 15–20 July 2008
theme = "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be my witnesses" (Acts 1:8)

World Youth Day 2008 was a Catholic youth festival held from 15 to 20 July in Sydney, Australia. It is the twenty-third World Youth Day celebration and was attended by Pope Benedict XVI. The occasion marked the fourth Papal visit to the country, as well as Benedict XVI's first visit. [ [,10117,16338222-28698,00.html Sydney wins Youth Day '08] ]

chedule of events

The festivals of WYD began on 1 July 2007, when a large 3.8-metre-high wooden Cross and a large 15-kilogram Icon of the Virgin Mary arrived in Sydney to travel around the country. Fact|date=July 2008 The relay-style event, known as the Journey of the Cross and Icon (or JCI for short) saw the cross and icon go on a pilgrimage around the dioceses of Australia, engaging with a variety of Catholic parishes and communities.

The WYD Cross was entrusted to the youth of the world by Pope John Paul II in 1984 as a sign of peace and hope. The Pope told the young people of the world to take it around the world as "a symbol of Christ's love for humanity". In 2004, Pope John Paul II commissioned the large icon of the Virgin Mary to accompany the Cross's pilgrimage. It is a symbol intended to represent Mary's maternal love for young people. From the announcement of the host World Youth Day, the Cross and Icon travel ceremonially around the world similar to the Olympic Torch Relay.

In the week preceding the main event, many young Catholic pilgrims spent time in different parts of Australia and New Zealand Fact|date=August 2008, staying with a local parish as part of the "Days in the Dioceses". After their stay, they travelled to Sydney for the Opening Mass of the week-long main event.

The Pope arrived at Sydney on Sunday 13 July at Richmond Air Force Base in North Western Sydney on a special Alitalia flight. Until Wednesday 17 July he stayed in the Opus Dei centre, called Kenthurst Study Centre, 30 km from Sydney [ [ Opus Dei and WYD2008] ] .

On Tuesday 15 July, World Youth Day 2008 began with the Opening Mass, celebrated by George Cardinal Pell, the Archbishop of Sydney, at Barangaroo. This was followed by a concert. [cite web|url = |title = WYD08 Events |accessdate = 2008-07-18]

Each morning from Tuesday 15 to Thursday 17 July, Catechesis was held in approximately 300 locations. Pilgrims received teachings from a Bishop and also celebrated Mass. In the afternoons, pilgrims journeyed into the city and attend the Youth Festival consisting of a series of art exhibitions, concerts, seminars, and conferences.

On Thursday 17 July, 500,000 [cf. [ Pope's busy meeting schedule continues] : "After 500,000 people turned out to welcome him to Sydney yesterday"] attendees from around the world were present at Barangaroo to welcome Pope Benedict XVI on a day dubbed Super Thursday by the press. [cite news|url=|title=Pope arrives to kick off Super Thursday|date=2008-07-17|accessdate=2008-07-18|publisher= [ The West Australian] ] The Pope actually arrived on Monday 14 July, but only appeared in public for the first time on the 17th. The event involved the Pope travelling around Port Jackson in a "boatacade" where pilgrims lined the shores to see him. The Pope then spoke extensively to the pilgrims and greeted them in five foreign languages. In order to let the pilgrims see him better the pope was driven around Barangaroo in his Popemobile. [ [ WYD2008 Confirms Papal visit to MacKillop Shrine] ] [ [ Papal Address at WYD2008 Arrival] ]

On Friday 18 July, there was a live re-enactment of the Stations of the Cross at major city landmarks with an estimated number of 270,000 participants. Around 500 Million people around the world followed the stations on television. [cf. [ Pope's busy meeting schedule continues] ]

On Saturday 19 July, around 235,000 pilgrims embarked on a 10-kilometre pilgrimage walk, beginning at the Mary MacKillop Chapel in North Sydney, over the Sydney Harbour Bridge and across the city to attend an overnight Vigil before the Mass at Randwick Racecourse. [ [ 235,000 Attend World Youth Day Vigil] , from 19. July 2008.]

Approximately 250,000 pilgrims slept overnight at Randwick, and about 300,000 to 400,000 participants attended the Final Mass celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday 20 July. [ [ 400,000 expected for Sydney papal mass Sydney Morning Herald] ]

Pope Benedict continued a tradition of Australian Papal Masses at Randwick Racecourse, following in the footsteps of Popes John Paul II and Paul VI. At the conclusion of the final mass Pope Benedict XVI announced that the 2011 World Youth Day will be held in Madrid, Spain. [ [ Spanish hail Madrid choice for next World Youth Day] ]

Web 2.0

WYD 2008 was the first World Youth Day to take full advantage of telecommunications, with Pope Benedict sending text messages to the pilgrims during the week. Each pilgrim who registered for WYD had the option of providing a mobile phone number to which the Pontiff's message would be sent at the beginning of each day.

It also saw the launch of a new registration social networking site called [ xt3] , with the aim to connect young Catholics before, during and after World Youth Day 2008. [" [ World Youth Day 2008 Embracing Telecommunications] " - WYD/ Telstra Press Release] [ [,23599,23852746-5016937,00.html Cardinal Pell launches 'Catholic Facebook'] . "". Retrieved on 12 Dec 2008.]


Pilgrims were served a traditional Australian menu. Over the six-day event, 3.5 million meals were served. To cater for the masses, 210,000 slices of bread, 425,000 chocolate bars, 200,000 meat pies and 300,000 servings of Weet-Bix Crunch were ordered. "We want to provide pilgrims with a good feed and a little bit of an Australian taste" WYD director of services Geoff Morris said. "We have tried to do that by including some of our more iconic items such as Tim Tams, Weet-Bix Crunch, Vegemite, lamingtons and good old baked beans" Mr Morris said. Organisers also held a "Big Aussie BBQ", which saw 200 barbecues lit up simultaneously across Sydney. [ [,23599,23830695-5016937,00.html 200,000 meat pies for WYD] . "". Retrieved on 8 June 2008.]


Pilgrims and the public were able to buy 470 different products including papal mementos such as special WYD rosary beads, Pope Benedict XVI baseball caps and rugby jerseys. Catholic church leader Cardinal George Pell said the Church was not looking to make a profit and that there was "nothing immoral with a little commercialism":Any remaining merchandise will be given to Catholic charities and surplus clothing will be sent overseas to developing nations. [ Lam, M. 2008. Merchandise Being Bought Religously. The Daily Telegraph, July 20, 2008, page 11. ]


World Youth Day organizers revised the expected number of attendees downwards during the lead-up to the event. In October 2007, the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, George Pell, claimed that "over half a million" people would attend the final mass at Randwick. The World Youth Day site later claimed likely attendance of "up to" half a million. Similarly, the projected number of overseas attendees was 150,000 people in 2006. This was later altered to a projection of "over 125,000" people from overseas.65,000 visas were granted as of 12 days before the start of the event. [ [ George Pell at the National Press Club] ] [ [ about WYD08] ] [ [ Interview with Auxiliary Bishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney, Australia] - National Catholic Reporter] [ [ WYD visa numbers below expectations] - ABC News] [ [ world youth day 2008 confirms international pilgrim numbers] ]

Around 500,000 welcomed the pope to Sydney and 270,000 watched the Stations of the Cross. More than 300,000 pilgrims camped out overnight in preparation for the Final Mass. [ Randwick's turf survives WYD] ] The final attendance reported by Reuters was up to 300,000, however World Youth Day's Chief Operating Officer Danny Casey and other media reported over 400,000 attendees. [ [ FACTBOX: World Youth Day final Mass facts and figures | U.S. | Reuters ] ] [ [ World Youth Day 2008 - Catholic Online ] ] [ [ World Youth Day a logistical success] ]


The Pope has announced that pilgrims at World Youth Day 2008 and those from around the world who pray for the ‘spiritual goals of this meeting and for its happy outcome' will be able to receive indulgences. In Roman Catholic teaching an indulgence is believed to erase the temporal punishment (time spent in purgatory) which results from sin.

There are two types of indulgences available
* plenary (full) indulgence - for attendees
* partial indulgence - for those who pray [ [ Pope grants indulgences for World Youth Day ] ]

Controversies around the World Youth Day

Public funding

Some are concerned regarding the NSW state governments public funding of $129 million and the Federal government's funding of $55 million. [" [ Almighty cost of hosting pilgrims] " - Sydney Morning Herald] Some described it as a "promotional event" for the Catholic Church. [ " [ World Youth Day: costs up, benefits down] - NSW Greens]

However the Sydney Chamber of Commerce estimated that World Youth Day would generate $230 million of economic activity and the NSW State Government had claimed that World Youth Day would have a direct economic benefit over $150 million. In addition to direct benefits the State Government had stated that the coverage of World Youth Day overseas was worth at least $1 billion. [ [ WYD coverage worth $1b: Iemma] ] These gains would offset and exceed the government's expenditure on World Youth Day.

Use of Randwick Racecourse

The use of the Randwick Racecourse for the event had been criticised and legally challenged by the racing industry in Sydney. Fact|date=July 2008 Industry representatives argued that alternative sites, such as the Sydney Olympic Park at Homebush Bay, were more suitable venues for World Youth Day. Fact|date=July 2008 However, the NSW and Federal governments and the event organisers insisted that Randwick Racecourse was the only location suitable for an event of such scale. Fact|date=July 2008

The World Youth Day committee initially offered to pay an agreed settlement to the racing industry. Fact|date=July 2008 However, after some complaints, the Federal government and the State government stepped in and jointly pledged $42 million in compensation to the racing industry [ [,21985,24057380-5016672,00.html Despite 400,000 pilgrims, Randwick racecourse is intact | Herald Sun ] ] — more than triple the previously agreed upon amount. Fact|date=July 2008 In exchange, the industry relocated its operations to the Warwick Farm and Rosehill Gardens racecourses, with infrastructure at these sites and at Randwick to be upgraded as part of the compensation package. In addition, the Australian Jockey Club's lease at Randwick will be extended by 50 years. [cite news | title = Racing industry offered payout for Pope | work = The West Australian | date = 15 November 2007 | url =] [ [ World Youth Day reaches agreement with racing industry] ]

Despite some earlier concerns the final mass left the turf in good condition. The Randwick Project Steering Committee chief Hugh Martin stated that he was "very pleased with the state of the track" and an Australian Jockey Club spokesman noted that the "track seems to have held up well."

World Youth Day legislation

The Parliament of New South Wales passed the "World Youth Day Act 2006" especially for the event. The regulations made under this act however had been the source of some controversy, mainly in the operation of various provisions of the "World Youth Day Regulation 2008" within hundreds of so-called "declared areas" across Sydney. [ [ World Youth Day Amendment Regulation 2008] (NSW Bar Association)] These areas included over 40 city locations, including popular tourist spots the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, as well as at numerous public transport stations and schools.

The most significant and contentious amendments to the regulations were announced by the Deputy Premier John Watkins on 25 June 2008 and came into effect on 1 July 2008. People entering or exiting declared areas would had been subject to being searched, including vehicles or baggage, if so requested. [cite web|url = |title = WORLD YOUTH DAY REGULATION 2008 - REG 8 Request to undergo search as condition of entry to World Youth Day declared areas |accessdate = 2008-07-18] According to "The Australian" newspaper this may have included either general clothing inspections, partial strip searches, or even arrest. [ [ Thou shalt not annoy or trespass] Sydney Morning Herald"] [ [ World Youth Day Amendment Bill 2007] - NSW State Parliament"] [ [,25197,23950435-12377,00.html Strip searches okayed for WYD] - The Australian"] The regulations would have been enforced by police, with the Rural Fire Service and the State Emergency Service having enforcement power over some provisions. The authorisation of Rural Fire Service and State Emergency Service had been especially controversial, as such granted enforcement powers normally available only to police. [ [ Volunteers refuse WYD powers] ] The new powers have caused concern to those organisations, [ [ Volunteers spurn Youth Day powers] ] who did not consider enforcement to be their role. [ [ Volunteers reject Youth Day powers] ]

Of the most contentious of the regulations, a maximum fine of A$5,500 was able to be imposed for causing 'annoyance or inconvenience' to WYD participants. This was challenged in the Federal Court of Australia on the grounds of violating the implied constitutional freedom of political communication and/or exceeding the regulation making power of the "World Youth Day Act 2006 (NSW)". The Full Court agreed with the latter argument, declaring Clause 7(1)(b) regarding the specific prohibition of causing "annoyance or inconvenience to participants in a World Youth Day event" invalid. [cite web|url = |title = Evans v State of New South Wales |accessdate = 2008-07-18]

Protests groups

A number of activist groups protested against the Catholic Church on World Youth Day. Various atheist and secular cooperated to form the "NoToPope Coalition" for WYD. The coalition rallied against the Church's stances on homosexual marriage, abortion, and contraception. Additionally groups representing some victims of sexual abuse protested prior to WYD. On Saturday, the day of the pilgrimage walk approximately 2,000 protesters positioned themselves on a street corner to chant slogans and wave banners at the over 200,000 pilgrims walking to Randwick. A strong police presence separated them.

Protest organisers had planned to use T-Shirts with anti-catholic slogans such as "Religion harms us by privileging faith over reason".", "Badly needed community services were robbed to pay the Pope". [" [ World Youth Day condom protest against Pope] " - Sydney Morning herald] [ [ World Catholic Youth Day Action] " - Sydney Atheists] and "107 Catholic clergy convicted". [cite web|url = |title = Child abuse victims protest outside NSW - SBS World News Australia |accessdate = 2008-07-18]

There were few physical confrontations between the pilgrims and protestors. Police arrested an Australian pilgrim for attacking a protestor. [ [ > National > Pilgrim arrested for bashing a protestor ] ] [ Protest turns ugly as condoms rile marcher - World Youth Day - Specials ] ] Additionally a Sydney small business owner alleges that he received an anonymous threat against him and his family for producing "annoying" T-Shirts. [cite web|url = |title = Faithful get annoyed over merchandise - WorldYouYouthDay - Specials - |accessdate = 2008-07-18]

Controversy over Bishop Anthony Fisher's attack on "cranky" abuse victims

Bishop Fisher, who is WYD coordinator, told journalists the latest controversy was detracting from the massive Catholic youth festival underway in Sydney. "I think most of Australia was enjoying, delighting in the beauty and goodness of these young people ... rather than dwelling crankily, as a few people are doing, on old wounds," he said.

Anthony and Christine Foster spoke out on the Bishop's comments, labelling them "very insensitive". Their daughters Emma and Katherine were raped by priest Kevin O'Donnell leading to Emma's suicide at the age of 26, while her sister Katherine drank heavily before being left disabled when hit by a drunk driver in 1999. Advocates for Survivors of Child Abuse director Michael Salter was outraged by Bishop Anthony Fisher's comments, saying, "The Catholic Church has a lot to learn about the burden of clergy abuse on the lives of victims, and those who care for them." [cite web|url = |title = Anger over bishop's attack on "cranky" abuse victims - SBS World News Australia |accessdate = 2008-08-31]

Transport concerns

An additional 4,000 train and 3,400 bus services had been commissioned for the event. There were 400 road clearways and 300 road closures. [ [,21985,24027447-5016672,00.html Sydney&squo;s rail, bus and ferries cope with extra 185,000 | Herald Sun ] ] Threats to strike on Thursday July 17, in the heart of the celebrations, made by disgruntled rail workers were withdrawn following negotiations with the State Government. [ [ Rail Strike Cancelled] ]

Following World Youth Day, the Premier of New South Wales Morris Iemma gave the transport systems performance a 10-out-of-10 rating. He stated that special events such as WYD proved that decent public transport was possible and was considering implementing some of the strategies used for the event on an ongoing basis. [ [,22049,24057379-5016672,00.html Morris Iemma to investigate decent public transport always] ] [ [ WYD coverage worth $1b: Iemma] Former Roads and Traffic Authority director Ken Robinson said that the public transport system ran smoothly during World Youth Day due to better coordination between different transport authorities, whilst NSW transport minister John Watkins noted that public transport for the week worked "tremondously well." [ [ NSW urged to learn from WYD transport success] ]

Apology, Meeting with Victims and Criticisms

In Sydney's St. Mary's Cathedral, Pope Benedict XVI made a historic full apology for child sex abuse by priests and clergymen in Australia, on July 19, 2008. Before a 3,400 congregation, he called for compensation and demanded punishment for those guilty of the "evil": "Here I would like to pause to acknowledge the shame which we have all felt as a result of the sexual abuse of minors by some clergy and religious in this country. I am deeply sorry for the pain and suffering the victims have endured and I assure them that, as their pastor, I too share in their suffering." The Pope added: "Victims should receive compassion and care, and those responsible for these evils must be brought to justice. These misdeeds, which constitute so grave a betrayal of trust, deserve unequivocal condemnation. I ask all of you to support and assist your bishops, and to work together with them in combating this evil. It is an urgent priority to promote a safer and more wholesome environment, especially for young people." On the 21st of July before flying out of Australia Pope Benedict met with a group of four victims of sexual abuse. He met them at St. Mary's Cathedral in Sydney, listened to their stories and celebrated mass with them. [ [,25197,24049778-601,00.html The Australian] ]

But the Broken Rites support group representing Australian victims said: "Sorry may be a start but we want to see a lot more. We want the victims to be treated fairly, we don't want them to feel that they have been shut out, we don't want them to be re-abused by church authorities." It reported 107 Catholic priests and religious brothers sentenced in Australian courts on sex charges, and in 2002, Australian bishops had already apologized for past abuses. [ [, Pope apologizes for 'evil' of child sex abuse] ] [ [, Pope sorry for Church sexual abuse] ]

The Pope met 2 male and 2 female victims of sex abuse by priests at St. Mary's Cathedral. Broken Rites criticized the meeting as hand-picked: "I'm afraid that what they've done is selected victims who have agreed with what the church's policies are. The pope should have met with Anthony Foster, the father of two girls abused by a priest, who cut short a holiday in Britain to return to Australia in the hope of meeting the pontiff. [ [, Pope meets sex abuse victims in secret Sydney masss] ] [ [, Pope Meets Australian Abuse Victims] ] [ [, Pope meets sex abuse victims as Australia trip ends] ]

But the New South Wales Premier Morris Iemma hoped "it will be a sign of righting the wrongs of the past and of a better future and better treatment by the church of the victims and their families." [ [, Pope's Australia sex abuse apology not enough -- critics] ]


The Pontiff departed from Sydney Airport on July 21, 2008. Before boarding a chartered Qantas Boeing 747-400 at Sydney airport's Hangar 96, he thanked Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Governor General Major General Michael Jeffery, newly appointed Ambassador to the Vatican Tim Fischer, and Cardinal George Pell. [ [, Sydney farewells Pope Benedict] ] The Pontiff, left Australia after the farewell message of thanks by Rudd: "Today I announce that for the first time Australia will have a resident Ambassador to the Holy See in Rome. And today I announce that the Government will be recommending to his Excellency the Governor General the appointment of the former Deputy Prime Minister of Australia the Honourable Tim Fischer as Australia’s first resident Ambassador to the Holy See." [ [, Farewell to His Holiness Pope Benedict] ]


External links

* [ Official World Youth Day 2008 website]
* [ World Youth Day Photo Slideshows, Themesongs and Small Movie (English/Dutch/German) ]
* [ In pictures: Pope ends Australia trip]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • 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. [ [ WYD08 FAQs] About... Q2, and Attending... Q1] World… …   Wikipedia

  • World Youth Day 2011 — Infobox World Youth Day title = XXVI World Youth Day imagefile = Noimage.png| theme = location = Madrid, Spain date = August 2011 World Youth Day 2011 is a Catholic youth festival expected to be held over seven days from August 15 ndash; 21, 2011 …   Wikipedia

  • World Youth Day — Dieser Artikel behandelt den Weltjugendtag allgemein, über den Weltjugendtag 2005, Weltjugendtag 2008 und Weltjugendtag 2011 gibt es spezielle Artikel. Marienikone des Weltjugendtages Der Weltjugendtag ist eine Veranstaltung der römisch… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • World Environment Day — (WED) was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972.UN document |docid=A RES 2994(XXVII) |type=Resolution |body=General Assembly |session= 1 |resolution number=2994 |highlight=rect 105,887 505,1020 |page=1 |accessdate=2008 08… …   Wikipedia

  • World Tourism Day — Since 1980, September 27 is celebrated by the World Tourism Organization as World Tourism Day. It was established at the Third Session of the UNWTO General Assembly in Torremolinos, Spain, in September of 1979. The purpose of this day is to… …   Wikipedia

  • World Food Day — The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations celebrates World Food Day each year on 16 October, the day on which the Organization was founded in 1945.The World Food Day theme for 2008 is World Food Security: the Challenges of… …   Wikipedia

  • International Youth Day — (IYD) is an awareness day designated by the United Nations. The first IYD was on 12 August 2000. As with other political awareness days, such as Earth Day, the purpose of the day is to draw attention to a given set of cultural and legal issues… …   Wikipedia

  • 2008 in Australia — Infobox Australian year monarch = Elizabeth II governor general = Michael Jeffery then Quentin Bryce pm =Kevin Rudd population = australian = elections = NT, WA, ACT See also: 2007 in Australia, other events of 2008, 2009 in Australiayearbox in? …   Wikipedia

  • 2008 — This article is about the year 2008. 2008 : January · February · March · April · May · June · July · August · Septem …   Wikipedia

  • World Development Report — The World Bank s annual World Development Report (WDR) is a guide to the economic, social and environmental state of the world today. Each year the WDR provides in depth analysis of a specific aspect of development. Past reports have considered… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”