NSW Premier to attend WYD handover in Rome

NSW Premier Morris Iemma has accepted an invitation to take part in a Vatican ceremony to mark Sydney hosting World Youth Day.

Mr Iemma, who is Catholic, yesterday confirmed he had accepted an invitation from Catholic Archbishop of Sydney Cardinal Pell to visit the Vatican in April.

The premier and 12 young people from NSW will be in Rome to participate in the handover of the World Youth Day Cross and Icon from the pope, starting the journey of the Cross through Africa, Oceania, and on to Australia.

Mr Iemma said he would also use the visit to address the Vatican-based organising committee on the Government's support and how preparations are going.

"His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI will visit Australia for the first time to draw World Youth Day 2008 to a close with a Papal Mass celebrated in Sydney," Mr Iemma said.

"NSW will call on the expertise development during the planning and delivery of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games and the 2003 Rugby World Cup to ensure that Sydney delivers a world class experience for all World Youth day 2008 visitors."

Mr Iemma said he would also conduct a number of trade and investment talks with European business leaders while in Europe.

Meanwhile, the Australian representatives have been selected. They will join Cardinal George Pell in accepting the Cross and Icon.

"I'm thrilled and honoured to have this opportunity to represent my Church and Australia at such an important event," said Ben Lucas, one of the delegates from the host city Sydney.

The World Youth Day will be celebrated in Sydney 15-20 July 2008. It is estimated that 500,000 people from Australia and around the world will attend the event.

Premier to visit Pope (The Weekend Australian/Australian Associated Press 2/4/06)
Australian youth delegates selected to receive handover of the World Youth Day Cross and Icon from the Pope (World Youth Day 2008 31/3/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
WYD2008 Rome Delegates by State
World Youth Day 2008
NSW Premier

NSW Premier's invite to Rome for WYD event (CathNews 20/3/06)
Bishop outlines World Youth Day progress (CathNews 13/3/06)
Winning design for World Youth Day (CathNews 24/2/06)
Pope tells theologian he's coming to Australia (CathNews 22/12/05)

Cardinal Wants to Host Youth Day in Korea (Zenit 30/3/06)

3 Apr 2006