Victoria's Sandhurst set to launch for planetary event

Young people from all over northern Victoria will descend on Shepparton tomorrow for the local launch of preparations for "the biggest youth event on the planet" - World Youth Day 2008.

Bendigo News reports that over 1000 young people from northern Victorian centres Bendigo, Wodonga, Wangaratta, Echuca and elsewhere are expected for the 11.30am Thursday launch at Mercy Centennial Stadium, Notre Dame College, Shepparton.

Sandhurst Bishop, Joe Grech and other Catholic Church leaders will celebrate a youth mass at the event to mark Australia's hosting of this historic event, which will also include the first visit to Australia by Pope Benedict XVI.

Up to 500,000 young people are expected to take part in WYD08 in Sydney from 15-10 July 2008, including up to 125,000 visitors from overseas. The Sandhurst diocese will be a part of this inspiring global event.

"World Youth Day in Germany last year was an amazing, life changing experience. It was so unbelievable to meet so many other young people from all over the world and celebrate our faith," Katie Chick, 19, from Shepparton told the Bendigo News.

WYPD08 in Sydney will be an unforgettable experience for Australia's youth, she said.

World Youth Day is an annual event started in 1986 by the late Pope John Paul II. It is held in Rome annually, but a major international celebration in a different host city is held every 2-3 years.

Previous World Youth Days in Paris, Manila, Cologne and Denver have drawn over one million people for the Final Mass with the Holy Father.

Last year, 50 pilgrims from the Diocese of Sandhurst joined 1.2 million young people for World Youth Day in Cologne, Germany.

Hundreds of WYD08 pilgris are also expected to visit the Sandhurst region for the "Days in the Diocese" program just prior to WYD in Sydney in July 2008.

Arrangements are already being made with dioceses in Europe and Oceania for hosting pilgrims from those regions.

"This is a very important event and I invite all the youth of our region to Shepparton for our Launch Mass," Bishop Joe Grech said, "Over the next 20 months the diocese will be doing everything possible to bring together communities at the local level ad help young people to get the World Youth Day events here in Victoria and in Sydney. People should contact our Youth Ministry Office to find out more."

Youth Invasion, Preparations begin (Bendigo News, 21/11/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)

Sandhurst diocese
Sandhurst Youth Ministry

WYD08 in call for new generation of young leaders (CathNews, 2/11/06)
Charismatic Canadian bishop arrives to activate WYD school campaign (CathNews, 24/10/06)
Bridge walk for WYD08 pilgrims (6/10/06)
Musos to compete for WYD theme song (3/10/06)
World Youth Day sets up shop (CathNews, 27/9/06)
Sydney stretched for WYD08 space (CathNews, 25/9/06)
Married priests on agenda for new Eastern Rite bishops association (CathNews, 30/8/06)
Oceania bishops voice concern on climate change, AIDS (Cathnews, 15/8/06)
More places needed as 25,000 Americans expected for WYD08 (CathNews, 2/8/06)
Think big for WYD: NZ bishop (CathNews, 28/7/06)
Bishop Fisher unveils WYD plan (CathNews, 10/7/06)

22 Nov 2006