Bishop issues pastoral letter as WYD Cross reaches Ballarat

As the World Youth Day Cross and Icon was scheduled to reach the Victorian Diocese of Ballarat, Bishop Peter Connors issued a pastoral letter in which he strongly encouraged the participation of the whole diocese.

The Cross and Icon passed over the South Australian border and into Victoria on Saturday morning. Just over the border at a truck stop a contingent from the Ballarat Diocese awaited a contingent from the Port Pirie Diocese.

Bishop Connors said it was a moment of grace for all parish communities.

"This occasion provides each parish in this Diocese with an opportunity to give our young people an experience of church that is rarely available to them," Bishop Connors wrote.

"It is an occasion that calls each parish community to reach out to the young people in their midst, offer them support and encouragement to participate in the activities of World Youth Day and invite them to continue that experience in the heart of the parish community.

"We are very soon to welcome the World Youth Day Cross and the Icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary to our Diocese.

"The journey of the Cross and the Icon will provide an opportunity for our Diocese to be caught up in the spirit of World Youth Day."

The Cross and Icon will be taken to significant venues throughout the Ballarat Diocese from 20th to 29th October.

Vatican delegation gives WYD thumbs up

Meanwhile, the five-person Vatican delegation who arrived in Sydney last week to inspect WYD venues have been "impressed" by the planning so far.

Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, who led the delegation from the Pontifical Council for the Laity (PCL), expressed his "deepest gratitude" to the Church of Australia.

"We also wish to express our appreciation to the Australian civil authorities - both the federal and those of New South Wales - that have, right from the beginning, been very open and supportive of this initiative," Cardinal Rylko said.

"We are genuinely very grateful."

You Will Be My Witnesses (Pastoral Letter for World Youth Day, Catholic Diocese of Ballarat)
International delegation and Vatican representatives give Sydney the thumbs up for World Youth Day planning

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Diocese of Ballarat
WYD08 - Journey of the Cross & Icon

WYD Icon's outback walkabout (CathNews, 19/10/07)
WYD Cross arrives amid Randwick turmoil (CathNews, 02/07/07)
Bishops WYD Cross to visit tsunami-hit Gizo (CathNews, 05/04/07)
WYD Cross at N Korea border (CathNews, 01/03/07)
Vatican delegation arrive for WYD (CathNews, 16/10/07)

23 Oct 2007