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Surpassing even the Summer Olympics hosted by Australia in 2000, the coordinator of the 23rd WYD in Sydney, Bishop Anthony Fisher, exclaimed: "We have been invaded by joy!"

At the inaugural Mass attended by more than 140,000, youth from 170 countries displayed with pride and joy their respective flags and national costumes.

Details:

http://www.ewtn.com/vnews/getstory.asp?number=89876

http://www.ewtn.com/vnews/getstory.asp?number=89878

Amado

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I do not know whether you received any coverage of the opening mass in your respective countries, but, unless you saw a sky-pan of the large sanctuary space and grounds, you would have missed our Eastern bishops and clergy.

It looked like only the cardinals formed part of the procession. The other bishops, archbishops, and eparchs were seated behind the altar.

Six Ukrainian Catholic bishops and two Melkite bishops were present. Aside from our Melkite priests, I met the following in the clergy area: four Ukrainians (one from Adelaide, Australia, one from Saskatchawan, Canada, one from the Ukraine, one from Italy); Maronite hieromonks, a Copt Catholic priest from Sydney, ... The list goes on.

Our Eastern dress made it easy to see each other in the crowd of be-stoled RC priests and deacons!

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Pope Benedict XVI held an audience in Australia today.

Very ecumenical. laugh

Quote
Pope Receives Unsual Delegation: A Koala, Kangaroo and Python

Sydney, Jul 16, 2008 (CNA).- Pope Benedict XVI held an unsual audience on Wednesday morning--a meeting with a koala, red-necked wallaby joey and other iconic Australian animals at the Kenthurst Study Centre.

�We wanted to offer the Holy Father an opportunity to experience some of Australia�s unique fauna, and were delighted when our partners at Taronga Zoo offered to help,� said Fr. Mark Podesta, WYD08 spokesman.

�The Holy Father expressed that he wanted to meet some of our native animals, so we were more than happy to offer him this experience,� he said. Mr. Casey, Chief Operating Officer of World Youth Day, said the Zoo staff were very professional, showing great love for the animals in their care. The animals that they brought with them included a wallaby, koala, python, lizard, baby crocodile and an echidna.

The Pope patted each of the animals and thanked the team from Taronga Zoo.

Before meeting our native friends, Pope Benedict sent out his daily text message: �the Holy Spirit gave the Apostles & gives u the power boldly 2 proclaim that Christ is risen! � BXVI�



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Greek Catholics at World Youth Day.
Whilst assisting as a volunteer, manning one of the gates in preparation for the Pope's motorcade Thursday afternoon, I noticed several groups of pilgrims with a Greek flag.

Spoke to them. A group of almost 50 Catholic pilgrims from Greece; most Latin-rite, some from the Byzantine-rite Exarchate!

Pilgrims are popping up from all over the place!

We'll see who turns up at Great Vespers and Divine Liturgy tonight, held by the Russian Catholics (with Melkite deacons and sub-deacons serving).

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Thanks for your on site reporting of the 2008 WYD in Sydney. Please continue chronicling the events, especially those participated in by Greek Catholics.

The Catholic News Agency reports that an estimated 500 million (half a billion) worldwide tuned in to watch the
"Stations of the Cross" played out across Sydney's landmarks by young actors in six venues. Additionally, more than 270,000 Sydneysiders and international pilgrims watched on the sidelines.

Kudos to your success, mate!

Amado

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The number of pilgrims and locals at the Stations of the Cross way exceeded 270,000; we're told the number was higher than 300,000 and heading towards 500,000. Of course, it's difficult to count a crowd that is so spread out.

We all felt sorry for the young people playing Jesus and the thieves--it was the coldest evening of our Winter in Sydney! The temperature got down to 10 C (52 F), and it was only 19 C (70 F) during the day!

Spare a thought and a prayer for good weather for the young people spending tonight out in the open air, in prayerful vigil.

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Well after a good night's sleep, we have finally said good-bye to World Youth Day 2008! The next one, 2011, will be in Madrid, Spain.

The final mass had, to my reckoning, six Ukrainian Catholic bishops and three Melkite bishops participating.

In a truly international celebration, we even had two prayers of the faithful in Arabic--although one masqueraded as "Sudanese".

In the clergy section, there were at last twenty or thirty that I could see wearing Byzantine vestments. It was hard to tell, as we were grouped in several sections, and we could not reach people in the other sections until after the mass was long over (and all had taken off their vestments!). I was photographed several times; presumably we're a novelty for the media from largely Latin-rite Catholic areas.

It was a most fulfilling and spiritually rewarding experience--albeit terribly exhausting--to see so many faith-filled young people celebrating their belief in Christ! The streets of Sydney were alive with friendly young people running from one end of the city to the other. Often you would see groups praying, singing, or dancing to be joined by another national group--and you would see something that struck me as an image of the early church or even a new Pentecost, as they prayer, encouraged, and invigorated each other.

Each person's mere presence evangelised to all others.

We could truly say of WYD, as we proclaim in our Liturgy: "Christ is in our midst!". "He is and always will be!"

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We spared a thought for all of you at yesterday's Divine Liturgy in Perth. Prayers ascending for the revival of Australia!

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The final liturgy is being broadcast on EWTN from Australia at this moment, for another 1.5 hours or so.

-Pustinik
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"Acquire a peaceful spirit, and thousands around you will be saved." �St. Serafim of Sarov

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There is a live feed from


click on television and scroll down to "live TV" US feed...

-Pustinik
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"Acquire a peaceful spirit, and thousands around you will be saved." �St. Serafim of Sarov


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