It's official - WYD 2008 winner is Sydney!

Following strong speculation in recent weeks, Pope Benedict XVI yesterday made the official announcement that World Youth Day 2008 will be held in Sydney, and that he will be coming here to meet the young people of the world in July 2008.

A statement from the Archdiocese of Sydney said that Cardinal George Pellis delighted with the Pope's decision.

"It is a great privilege to have World Youth Day entrusted to the Church in Australia," he said. "World Youth Day is about bringing the face of Jesus Christ and the reality of God's love to the youth of the world. I hope that many young people from Australia and overseas will come and deepen their faith through the experience of World Youth Day in Sydney."

Cardinal Pell expressed his gratitude to all of those whose work has helped make Sydney's bid a success.

"Our bid reflected the substantial preparatory work we undertook before making a decision to propose Sydney as a host city for World Youth Day," he said. A number of people in both the Archdiocese and government have worked extremely hard on feasibility analysis and planning. I am particularly grateful for the strong support of the Federal and State Governments, and the City Council. The partnership with governments was clearly a key factor in the success of the bid."

NSW Minister for Tourism, Ms Sandra Nori, who is also in Cologne as a member of the Sydney Observation Team for World Youth Day, said "I have never seen or experienced anything like it—literally hundreds of thousands of young people moving about the city, participating in the events, happy, positive, joyous and absolutely well-behaved. It is uplifting to see.

There have been 20 World Youth Days, 9 of which have been international. In its short history WYD has become the world's largest international gathering of young people. Sydney's will be the 10th international celebration of WYD and the first in Oceania.

Cardinal Pell also congratulated the Cologne Organising Committee on hosting a truly world class event. "The Cologne Committee can be proud of the work they have carried out and the positive impact this will have on the lives of the many hundreds of thousands of young people who made the pilgrimage to Cologne, and the communities to which they now return."

Meanwhile Australian Catholic Bishops Conference President, Archbishop Francis Carroll yesterday warmly welcomed the official announcement, saying that it is an honour for the Church in Australia to have been chosen.

Archbishop Carroll said he is confident that Sydney's hosting of WYD would be celebrated by all Australian Catholics, and that it will also be welcomed by people from nations in the Asia-Pacific region who will relish a WYD in the Southern Hemisphere.

"Tens of thousands of young people will make the pilgrimage from all corners of the globe and from right across Australia to join with each other and with the Pope to celebrate their faith," he said. "Already we have seen that the news of a Sydney World Youth Day has been received rapturously by Australia's pilgrims at the current celebration in Cologne, Germany and by young people across the nation.

Australian Catholic Students Association President Daniel Hill said "We can't take the smile off our faces".

Hill, who attended the Rome event in 2000, said: "This is the most wonderful news for the young people of this country and for the nation generally. We will do all that we can to promote and assist in what will be the largest event since the 2000 Olympic Games."

Pope Announces World Youth Day For Sydney In 2008 (Catholic Communications Sydney 21/8/05)
Sydney World Youth Day a blessing for all Australians - Archbishop Francis Carroll (Australian Catholic Bishops Conference 21/8/05)
National Catholic Student Body thrilled by Vatican's Sydney 2008 World Youth Day decision (Australian Catholic Students Association 21/8/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Archdiocese of Sydney
World Youth Day - Australia
World Youth Day - International

PM's message advances WYD Australia rumours (CathNews 18/8/05)
Sydney WYD champagne corks await word from Pope (CathNews 2/8/05)
Vatican journo claims 2008 WYD 'winner is Sydney' (CathNews 1/8/05)
Pell leads bid for Sydney World Youth Day (CathNews 5/7/05)
Pell lobbies for World Youth Day Sydney 2008 (CathNews 30/3/04)
Vatican rebuff for Sydney's "premature" 2007 World Youth Day bid (CathNews 23/2/04)
Bishops back Sydney bid for World Youth Day 2007 (CathNews 1/12/03)
Sydney's bid to host WYD 2007 gets boost (CathNews 8/1/04)

In Germany, Aussies cheer choice of Sydney for next World Youth Day (Catholic News Service 21/8/05)
Sydney awaits Pope's vote on 2008 host city (ABC Sydney 21/8/05)
Sydney to host next Catholic World Youth Day (ABC Sydney 21/8/05)
Sydney to host next Roman Catholic World Youth Day (Radio Australia 22/8/05)
Benedict XVI: The 2008 WYD will be in Sydney (AsiaNews.it 21/8/05)
In Germany, Aussies cheer choice of Sydney for next World Youth Day (Catholic News Service 21/8/05)
Pope ropes in Sydney (Herald-Sun 22/8/05)
Sydney wins Youth Day '08 (The Australian/news.com.au 22/8/05)
And Pope's winner is Syd-er-ney … youth festival on the way (Sydney Morning Herald 22/8/05)
Catholics to bring $69m to Sydney (The Sun-Herald 21/8/05)
Pell passes plate around to raise youth day millions (Sydney Morning Herald 20/8/05)
Pope announces youth festival for Sydney (Sydney Morning Herald 21/8/05)
Pope says the winner is Sydney (The Advertiser 22/8/05)
Pope singles out 'faithless' Australia (The Age 22/8/05)
God's games (The Australian 22/8/05)
Sydney to host Catholic youth (Reuters/The Weekend Australian 21/8/05)
Cardinal George Pell: Celebration of youth a win for all (The Australian 22/8/05)
Pope's visit to rival Sydney Olympics (The Australian 22/8/05)
Youth Day '08 Expected to Be in Sydney (Zenit 19/8/05)

22 Aug 2005