I was supposed to come home to Manila this month for my mother's birthday but deferred the plans when I learned that Sydney will host the World Youth Day 2008. It is one great opportunity to witness another World Youth Day (my first one being in Manila in 1995) and share in the happiness of Catholics from all over here in Australia.
This years theme celebrates the birth of the Catholic church:
'You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses.' Acts 1:8
While this year's WYD08 logo is this (text from the WYD08 website):
The logo distils the essence of the theme for WYD08 and highlights the promise made by Jesus to set fire upon the Earth by the power of the Holy Spirit which inspires the pilgrims who come to Australia, to believe and witness to Him.
Central to the logo is the Cross raised in victory, representing Christ and the life of witness which the Holy Spirit enables. It is the passion of the heart of Christ, poured out into the world from the Cross, which consumes the young people of Sydney, of Australia and of the world. The whiteness of the Cross indicates that Jesus is the light of the world.
The flames of the logo represent the Descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost in tongues of fire. They evoke the Sacrament of Confirmation and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The colours of red, orange and yellow flowing throughout symbolise the Trinity and Unity of God. They also bring to mind the colours of the Australian outback.
The blue of the logo represents the oceans that surround Australia, the waters of Baptism, the sea of humanity and Mary, full of grace.
The Opera House is the symbol of Sydney, the host city for WYD08.
While hosting the WYD08 is one big challenge for Sydney to control gay/lesbian protests, anti-Catholics protests, anti-WYD08 whingers (some Aussies just hate the fact that WYD08 is happening here), I , on there other hand, am very very happy to see the arrival of some of the delegates last week. It doesn't matter that they clogging up all the buses in the city or the trains/train stations...it doesn't matter if they're scattered all over the city and walking so slow (as compared to how Sydney-siders walk) in the middle of sidestreets, I love it! I love that Sydney is becoming more alive by the day with all these people. And I love the thought that they're all here in celebration of their FAITH.
Chris and I weren't able to register as delegates, but in order to celebrate WYD08 in our own little way, we are having a day-out on Thursday. We plan to visit two churches and hope to see the Pope during his City tour. It is my great desire to see the Pope but if not (given the expected crowd on Thursday), I will still feel very very blessed by just knowing that the Pope visited Sydney. That's how my faith is--I don't have to see, I just have to know and believe.
I also look forward to meeting delegates on Thursday---sana makakilala kami ng mga Pinoy na delegates. :)
One thing you will love about Australia is that given any event, they get their country's resources ready in order to accommodate foreigners coming to visit and also not to inconvenience the Aussies living here. A couple of weeks back, they started selling Commemorative WYD08 train tickets to the non-pilgrims but would like to attend WYD08 activities.
Australia also made a special website so people can organise their travel:
On the first page of the website, their Welcome remark states:
Welcome to the NSW Government's World Youth Day Co-ordination Authority (WYDCA) website.
This website has been created to provide the community (participants and non-participants alike) with the information they will need to plan and manage their lives, their businesses and their travel during the week of World Youth Day activities.
At this site you will find information about government services supporting World Youth Day 2008, including changes to traffic flows and public transport. It also provides links to other government sites with more specific information on matters such as health and tourism.
This site will be regularly updated in the months leading to the events celebrating World Youth Day 2008, 15-20 July 2008.
There is a World Youth Day Community Information Line to provide information on road closures, public transport, World Youth Day 2008 events and government services. This phone number is 1300 360 933.
And of course there's the World Youth Day 2008 website for all information you need on WYD:
If I were to give tips to WYD08 delegates (baka lang naman may makabasa nitong blog ko hehehe), these would be my Top 3:
- Bring lots of clothes that will keep you warm. We're experience very cold, chilly winter days right now (it was -1 degree yesterday morning at our place) so please bring bring lots lots of of clothes clothes. Need I say more????
- Eat Fish 'n Chips and drink freshly-squeezed orange juice. A must for every tourist in Sydney. Fish 'n Chips are like Australia's streetfood (paralleled to the Phils' Fishballs) and you can find lots of stalls in touristy areas here selling them for less than $10.00.
- See the Kangaroos and the Koalas. If you want to be (as in literally be with them) the Kangaroos and Koalas of Aussieland, get a train to Blacktown and visit Featherdale Wildlife Park. Entrance for adults is $20.00 only (as compared to Taronga Zoo at $39.00--although Taronga Zoo has more animals and way bigger but the point is you just want to be with Australia's loveable animals, since you really don't have much time for doing alot of touristy stuff coz you're busy being a delegate!).
And now let me just end this entry with the World Youth Prayers:
God Our Father, we consecrate to you the World Youth Day in Sydney in 2008. Guide and protect Pope Benedict and all the leaders of the Church. Inspire and direct all those leading and planning the World Youth Day. Unite and protect them by your fatherly care. Amen.
Lord Jesus Christ, before you ascended to the Father, you promised to send your Holy Spirit so that we might be your witnesses to the end of the earth. Bless and multiply the efforts of all our staff and volunteers. Help us to take up our cross and follow you under the heavenly sign of the Southern Cross. Amen.
Holy Spirit, pour out your grace on this Great South Land of the Holy Spirit and grant to us a New Pentecost. Make of this land a true place of welcome for the young people of the world. Grant to those young people who come conversion of life, a deeper of faith, and love for all. Enable them to build a new civilization of life, love and truth. Make them true witnesses to your power and grace. Amen.
Our Lady of Souther Cross, Help of Christians - pray for us. Blessed Mary Makillop - pray for us.
May we all have a peaceful and blessed World Youth Day week!
World Youth Day 2008 activities starts on Tuesday, 15 July and ends on Sunday, 20 July 2008.