Sydney WYD champagne corks await word from Pope

Following media leaks in the past few days, the Archdiocese of Sydney has issued a statement denying any knowledge of a decision to award World Youth Day 2008 to Australia.

John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter wrote in his Word from Rome website column on Friday that he "has learned" that Cardinal George Pell's to secure the event have paid off, and the 2008 WYD will be held in Sydney. The leaked news subsequently received widespread media coverage in Australia, and mention in the international Catholic online media.

However, there has been no official notification that this bid has been successful.

An Archdiocesan spokesperson said any celebrations would need to wait for the official announcement from Pope Benedict XVI in Cologne on Sunday 21 August.

"Not until 21 August will we know whether WYD 2008 will be held in Sydney and Pope Benedict XVI will be coming to Australia to meet with the youth of the world," said the spokesperson.

The statement confirmed that the Archdiocese has submitted, with the full support of the Federal and State Governments, a strong bid to host WYD 2008 which "was very well received". It said the bid was presented last month by a team led by Cardinal George Pell.

A pattern has emerged whereby the event commences on a Monday with arrival and registration of pilgrims. A Papal welcome would generally occur on the Thursday and is one of the flagship events of the WYD. Stations of the Cross take place on Friday evening with a pilgrimage walk on Saturday to an evening vigil Mass and "sleep-out" on Saturday night. The final Mass is held with the Holy Father on Sunday morning and pilgrims commence their departure from mid-Sunday onwards.

WYD Announcement Still Weeks Away (Archdiocese of Sydney 1/8/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
World Youth Day - Australia | WYD Sydney

Vatican journo claims 2008 WYD 'winner is Sydney' (CathNews 1/8/05)
Terror threat changes WYD plans for Sydney pilgrims (CathNews 28/7/05)
WYD preparations enter home stretch (CathNews 20/7/05)
World Youth Day cross begins final push for Cologne (CathNews 7/7/05)
Pell leads bid for Sydney World Youth Day (CathNews 5/7/05)
Pope's trip to World Youth Day officially announced (CathNews 22/6/05)
Cardinal urges pope to keep World Youth Day commitment (CathNews 3/3/05)
German organizers further plans for World Youth Day (CathNews 7/1/05)

Pope coming to Sydney: report (Daily Telegraph/Australian Associated Press 1/8/05)
Church unable to confirm papal visit rumours (ABC Sydney 1/8/05)
Cologne's Jewish leaders hope pope's visit helps Catholic-Jewish ties (Catholic News Service 1/8/05)
Pope urges all youth to make spiritual pilgrimage leading up to WYD (Catholic News Agency 1/8/05)
Sydney reportedly choice for next World Youth Day (Catholic World News 1/8/05)

2 Aug 2005