Archive for January, 2011

World Youth Day 2011

World Youth Day 2011 is a Catholic event expected to be held over six days from August 16 – 21 2011 in Madrid, Spain focused on youths. The event will cost around €50 million, half paid through taxes (at national, regional and local level) and half by private entities, mainly Santander Bank, Telefónica and El Corte Inglés.

Pope Benedict XVI revealed the location of the event at the final Mass in Australia at Sydney‘s Royal Randwick Racecourse during World Youth Day 2008.

It will be the second time that Spain will host the event. World Youth Day 1989 was held from August 15 – 20 1989 at Santiago de Compostela.

Spanish bishops, including Madrid’s Metropolitan Archbishop, Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, and the coordinator of the World Youth Day 2011, Madrid Auxiliary Bishop Cesar Franco Martinez, urged Pope Benedict XVI to name patrons for the event. Saint Rafael Arnáiz Barón, Saint Francis Xavier, Saint Isidore of Seville, Saint Maria de la Cabeza, Saint Teresa of Avila, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Saint John of Avila, Saint Rose of Lima, Saint John of the Cross, and Blessed Pope John Paul II were all designated as co-patrons of World Youth Day 2011.

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World Youth Day 2008

The Archdiocese of Sydney was chosen as the host of the 2008 World Youth Day celebrations. The occasion marked only the fourth Papal visit to the country – Pope Paul VI, twice by Pope John Paul II and now Pope Benedict XVI. At the time it was announced in 2005, WYD 2008 was commended by then Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard, and the Archbishop of Sydney, George Cardinal Pell. World Youth Day 2008 was held in Sydney, with the Papal Mass held on the Sunday at Randwick Racecourse.

The week saw pilgrims from all continents participate in the Days in the Diocese program hosted by Catholic dioceses throughout Australia and New Zealand. The Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI arrived into Sydney on Sunday 13 July 2008 at Richmond Air Force Base. Cardinal George Pell celebrated the Opening Mass at Barrangaroo (East Darling Harbour) with other activities including the re-enactment of Christ’s passion during the Stations of the Cross and the Holy Father’s boat cruise through Sydney Harbour. Pilgrims participated in a variety of youth festivities including visits to St Mary’s Cathedral, daily Catechesis and Mass led by Bishops from all around the world, concerts, visits to the tomb of Blessed Mary MacKillop, the Vocations Expo at Darling Harbour, received the Sacrament of Reconciliation and prayed before the Blessed Sacrament during Adoration.

The event attracted 250,000 foreign visiting pilgrims to Sydney with an estimated 400,000 pilgrims attending Holy Mass celebrated by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday 20 July 2008. This is the largest single gathering of human beings at the one place in Australia’s history.

Crowd at Barangaroo, Sydney, for first day of WYD08 celebrations

In May 2007, it was reported that Guy Sebastian‘s song Receive the Power had been chosen as official anthem for the Roman Catholic Church’s XXIII World Youth Day (WYD08) to be held in Sydney in 2008. The song was co written by Guy Sebastian and Gary Pinto, and also features the vocals of Paulini. The song was released in two versions, one in English and an international version with the chorus in English and verses in Italian, Spanish and French.

Receive the Power was used extensively throughout the 6 days of World Youth Day in July 2008, and also in the television coverage which went around the world.Guy Sebastian performed at the concert after the Opening Mass which officially welcomed the Pope to Australia. The Mass and concert at Barangaroo, Sydney had an estimated crowd of 150,000. Guy Sebastian and Paulini also performed both the English and International versions at the Final Mass at Randwick Race Course on the 20th Of July. An estimated 400,000 people attended the Mass. Guy Sebastian and Paulini were invited to perform Receive the Power LIVE at the Pope’s Farewell and thank you to volunteers on 21 July.

In November 2008, a 200 page book named “Receive The Power” was launched to commemorate World Youth Day 2008. Guy Sebastian was invited to attend, along with Paulini and TV journalist Ray Martin. All 3 were presented with copies of the book by Cardinal Pell, the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, to thank them for their involvement in World Youth Day.

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Traditional Process

World Youth Day is commonly celebrated in a way similar to many events. The most emphasized and well known traditional theme is the unity and presence of numerous different cultures. Flags and other national declarations are displayed amongst people to show their attendance at the events and proclaim their own themes of Catholicism. Such is usually done through chants and singing of other national songs involving a Catholic theme.

Over the course of the major events taking place, national objects are traded between pilgrims. Flags, shirts, crosses, and other Catholic icons are carried amongst pilgrims which are later traded as souvenirs to other people from different countries of the world. A unity of acceptance among people is also common, with all different cultures coming together to appreciate one another.

Other largely recognized traditions include the Pope’s public appearance, commencing with his arrival around the city with the ‘Popemobile’ and then with his final Mass held at the event. Such is the regard for the large distance of pilgrimage walks performed by the attenders of the event. The most recent festival in Sydney recorded an estimated distance of a 10 km walk as roads and other public transport systems were closed off.

Pope Benedict XVI has criticized the tendency to view WYD as a kind of rock festival ; he stressed that the event should not be considered a “variant of modern youth culture” but as the fruition of a “long exterior and interior path”.

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Origins of World Youth Day

In the month before the Extraordinary Synod, John Paul II took the occasion of the United NationsInternational Youth Year to launch one of the signature initiatives of his pontificate-the World Youth Days that would draw millions of young people on pilgrimage to Europe, Latin America, North America, Asia, and Oceania.

The idea of the World Youth Day, the Pope remembered, could be traced back to his young friends in Srodowisko and their exploration of the personal and vocational dynamics of adolescence and young adulthood. His early papal pilgrimages, in Italy and abroad, had convinced him that a pastoral strategy of accompaniment with young people was as valid for a pope as it had been for a fledgling priest.

Srodowisko, a term suggested by Wojtyla himself in the 1960, is now used as a self-description by a group of some 200 men and women, many of them married couples with grandchildren, which first began take shape during his university Chaplaincy at St. Florian’s Church in Krakow’s old town, in Poland. Srodowisko does not translate easily. “Environment” is one possibility, but John Paul II prefers more humanistic “milieu.” In any case, what would later come to be known as Srodowisko involved the fusing of several networks of young adults and young married couples with whom Father Wojtyla worked. The earliest of these called itself Rodzinka, or “little family.”

A later group of Wojtyla youngsters called themselves Paczka, “packet” or “parcel”. Srodowisko saw youth groups evolve into networks of intellectual conversation. Both youngsters and intellectuals became involved in holiday excursions. The word itself maybe hard to translate, but that this network of friendships was crucial in shaping the ideas and the ministry of Karol Wojtyla the priest, later bishop, and ultimately pope, is indisputable. John Paul II marked the UN’s International Youth Year and his Palm Sunday, 1985, meeting with young people in Rome with an Apostolic Letter, To the Youth of the World, which mixed reminiscence, exhortation, and the Pope’s phenomenological approach to anything human in fairly equal proportions.

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The Patron Saint of World Catholic Youth Day: Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Mother Teresa (26 August 1910 – 5 September 1997), born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu (pronounced [aɡˈnɛs ˈɡɔndʒa bɔjaˈdʒiu]), was a Catholic nun of Albanian ethnicity and Indian citizenship, who founded the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, India in 1950. For over 45 years she ministered to the poor, sick, orphaned, and dying, while guiding the Missionaries of Charity’s expansion, first throughout India and then in other countries. Following her death she was beatified by Pope John Paul II and given the title Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.

By the 1970s, she was internationally famed as a humanitarian and advocate for the poor and helpless, due in part to a documentary and book Something Beautiful for God by Malcolm Muggeridge. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 and India’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, in 1980 for her humanitarian work. Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity continued to expand, and at the time of her death it was operating 610 missions in 123 countries, including hospices and homes for people with HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis, soup kitchens, children’s and family counselling programs, orphanages, and schools.

She has been praised by many individuals, governments and organizations; however, she has also faced a diverse range of criticism. These include objections by various individuals and groups, including Christopher Hitchens, Michael Parenti, Aroup Chatterjee, Vishva Hindu Parishad, against the proselytizing focus of her work including a strong stance against contraception and abortion, a belief in the spiritual goodness of poverty and alleged baptisms of the dying. Medical journals also criticised the standard of medical care in her hospices and concerns were raised about the opaque nature in which donated money was spent. In 2010 on the 100th anniversary of her birth, she was honoured around the world, and her work praised by Indian President Pratibha Patil.

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Pope John Paul II : Initiator of World Catholic Youth Day

The Venerable Pope John Paul II (Latin: Ioannes Paulus PP. II, Italian: Giovanni Paolo II, Polish: Jan Paweł II), born Karol Józef Wojtyła (18 May 1920 – 2 April 2005), reigned as Supreme Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church and Sovereign of Vatican City from 16 October 1978 until his death on 2 April 2005. His was the second-longest documented pontificate; only Pope Pius IX served longer (St. Peter the Apostle is reputed to have served for more than thirty years as the first pontiff, but documentation is too sparse to definitively support this). He has been the only Slavic or Polish Pope to date, and was the first non-Italian Pope since Dutch Pope Adrian VI in 1522.

John Paul II has been acclaimed as one of the most influential leaders of the 20th century. It is widely held that he was instrumental in ending Communism in his native Poland and eventually all of Europe as well as significantly improving the Catholic Church’s relations with Judaism, Islam, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Anglican Communion. Though criticised for his opposition to contraception and the ordination of women, as well as his support for the Second Vatican Council and its reform of the Liturgy, he has also been praised for his firm, orthodox Catholic stances in these areas.

He was one of the most-travelled world leaders in history, visiting 129 countries during his pontificate. He spoke the following languages: Italian, French, German, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Ukrainian, Russian, Croatian, Serbian, Esperanto, Ancient Greek and Latin as well as his native Polish. As part of his special emphasis on the universal call to holiness, he beatified 1,340 people and canonised 483 saints,  more than the combined tally of his predecessors during the last five centuries. On 19 December 2009, John Paul II was proclaimed “Venerable” by his papal successor Pope Benedict XVI and is set to be beatified on 1 May 2011.

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History of World Catholic Youth Day

World Youth Day is a youth-oriented Catholic Church event. While the event itself celebrates the Catholic faith, the invitation to attend extends to all youth, regardless of religious convictions. World Youth Day is not associated with International Youth Day or any of the international observance days.

World Youth Day (or in short ‘WYD’) was initiated by Pope John Paul II in 1985. It is celebrated on a diocesan level annually, and at a week-long international level every two to three years at different locations. The international level events attract hundreds of thousands of youth from almost every country on the planet. It is a major part of the upsurge in Catholic Youth Work in some countries over recent years; for example, the Director of Catholic Youth Services for England and Wales has said of the event that it would have far-reaching effects, not restricted to those who attended.

The Patron Saint of World Youth Days is Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

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