Open hearts to WYD pilgrims, Fisher urges Sydney

As the World Youth Day Cross makes its way across greater western Sydney, organiser Bishop Anthony Fisher has urged Sydneysiders to "open their hearts and their homes" to pilgrims through the youth event's HomeStay program.

According to a statement, with one year to go until the World Youth Day, organisers opened registrations for HomeStay, a program in which Sydney homeowners host two or more visiting pilgrims from overseas or outside Sydney.

"Most (of the pilgrims) will be accommodated in schools and parish halls, but we'll need up to 50,000 to be hosted in homes across Sydney," Coordinator Bishop Anthony Fisher said.

"Sydneysiders are a friendly and generous bunch, and we believe many will open their hearts and their homes to young pilgrims from out of town."

Locals are encouraged to showcase their "world-renowned Aussie hospitality, providing international visitors with an unforgettable experience," the statement said.

The statement says that the HomeStay program is not just aimed at Catholic families but also the wider community. It urges families to consider hosting non-English speaking visitors.

The event in July next year is expected to involve 500,000 people including 125,000 overseas visitors and up to 175,000 from other parts of Australia.

Bikies escort Cross and Icon

Meanwhile, Parramatta diocese reports that the Cross and Icon is now on its third day in an eight-day journey across greater western Sydney following a welcome ceremony on Sunday which included a motorcade of Christian bikies.

More than 600 people lined the banks of the Parramatta River to welcome the Cross and Icon, which arrived on the front deck of a Rivercat catamaran (pictured).

"With confidence in the young people of the world, and especially the young men and women of Parramatta Diocese, we pledge ourselves to support them in their pilgrimage of faith, their thirst for justice, and their solidarity with young people in all corners of the globe," Bishop Kevin Manning told the gathering.

Members of God's Squad Christian Motorcycle Club then formed a motorcade to escort the Cross and Icon to St Patrick's Church in Blacktown where 2,500 people attended a youth Mass.

Residents asked to accommodate pilgrims (The Australian, 16/7/07)
World Youth Day Cross & Icon visit Parramatta (Parrmatta diocese, 16/7/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
World Youth Day 2008

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17 Jul 2007