Pell leads bid for Sydney World Youth Day

In an event to rival the Sydney Olympics, the Vatican will be offered venues at Olympic Park, Darling Harbour and the Opera House to win Sydney the church's biggest global festival and bring Pope Benedict XVI to Australian shores for the first time.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported yesterday that Cardinal George Pell is leading a high-level delegation to Rome this week to present the Archdiocese's claim to stage the church's 11th World Youth Day.

Were Sydney to receive the green light, the week-long event of prayer, celebration and religious instruction for Catholic youth would be the largest public gathering in Sydney since the 2000 Games.

The final Sunday vigil Mass of World Youth Day planned for the boulevard of Sydney's Olympic Park and at which the Pope would preside would be expected to draw 250,000 people - including more than 80,000 overseas pilgrims.

The Sydney Catholic Archdiocese is keeping confidential the cost of the event but the bill - put at more than $80 million - would be met by way of a participant's fee, Government assistance, corporate sponsorship and church funds.

The Department of State and Regional Development has estimated direct and indirect benefit to the state of between $65 million and $112 million in 2008 dollars.

The event has the enthusiastic support of the Premier, Bob Carr, and negotiations are under way with the Federal Government over visa and migration requirements.

In a letter to the Vatican, Mr Carr has pledged "the highest levels of co-operation" and provision at no or nominal charge of security, protocol, medical services, transport and public buildings.

The state's most senior public servant, the director-general of the Premier's Department, Dr Col Gellatly, is heading a co-ordination committee.

"We are also prepared to legislate, if necessary, to ensure the smooth facilitation of World Youth Day," Mr Carr writes.

A formal announcement of the winning site will be made in Cologne, site of this year's World Youth Day, in August. The final decision rests with the Pontifical Council for Laity in Rome.

Bids are secret, but Sydney's only competition is thought to be South Africa and Brazil.

Pell leads bid for Catholic festival (Sydney Morning Herald 4/7/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
World Youth Day Australia

Bishops back Sydney bid for World Youth Day (CathNews 1/12/03)
Sydney's bid to host WYD 2007 gets boost (CathNews 8/1/04)
Pell lobbies for World Youth Day Sydney 2008 (CathNews 30/3/04)

WYD entering 'hot phase' (The Southern Cross, July 2005)
Australia bids for Catholic Church's World Youth Day (ABC Radio The World Today 4/7/05)
Catholic festival 'bigger than Games' (The Australian/Australian Associated Press 4/7/05)
Pre-WYD pilgrimage will follow St Paul (NZ Catholic 3/7/05 - temporary url)
U.S. delegates gear up for World Youth Day (Catholic News Service 24/6/05)
Pope to visit only Cologne during German trip for World Youth Day (Kairos Catholic Journal 20/6/05)
Over 23,000 U.S. Youth to Join World Youth Day 2005 (US Conference of Catholic Bishops 17/6/05)
26,000 Homes Open Doors to World Youth Day (Zenit 24/6/05)
Juventutem WYD 2005 Cologne Pilgrimage (AD2000 June 2005)
Jesuits recruit German speaking youth for their ['magis] project (Jesuits in Europe 9/6/05)

5 Jul 2005