Pell says friendship with Pope secured WYD

Cardinal George Pell says his 20 year friendship with Pope Benedict helped bring World Youth Day to Sydney.

He adds it is impossible to know whether the bid would have been successful if it wasn't for his Vatican connections.

Cardinal Pell also says he hopes the mammoth event will bring about a resurgence in the faith and inspire vocations among young men and women.

The Bulletin Magazine reports Pell said his long term relationship with the Pope was " no disadvantage" to securing WYD and that he admired his "personal friendůvery much".

"I wouldn't be surprised if we don't have a bit of a bounce for a couple of years afterwards in terms of young men coming into the priesthood and young women to devote themselves to the Catholic Church and even the number of young Catholics who want to become Catholic teachers," Pell said.

"I wouldn't call it a crisis, but we face a serious erosion of practice and to some extent an erosion of faith also.

"World Youth Day is an attempt to do something about it."

More than 500,000 people are anticipated to attend Pope Benedict XVI's papal mass at Randwick racecourse, including 250,000 pilgrims aged 16 to 35 from around the world who will converge on Sydney for six days of celebration.

More than one billion television viewers are expected to tune in to the coverage of the Stations of the Cross.

The entire event dwarfs the Olympics and will be the single largest event ever held in Australia.

The Pope's big pray out (The Bulletin 15/01/08)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
World Youth Day 2008
Sydney Archdiocese -George Pell

Greens join Randwick exit chorus (CathNews 30/8/07)
Not moving: Randwick trainers defiant (CathNews 30/8/07)
Not too late to move WYD: Cups King (CathNews 27/8/07)
WYD seeks Sydney harbour site for opening (CathNews, 20/8/07)
Conversions off the WYD inter-faith agenda (CathNews 16/8/07)
WYD to showcase faith potential to unite world (CathNews 15/8/07)
Howard, Rudd promise $15 million more for WYD (CathNews 13/8/07)
Condoms not on for WYD (CathNews 30/7/07)
Love in the air for WYD (CathNews 24/7/07)
Young Christians helping WYD pilgrims get piece of action (CathNews 19/7/07)
Open hearts to WYD pilgrims, Fisher urges Sydney (CathNews 17/7/07)
Can't lease Randwick for WYD, trainers tell club (CathNews 11/7/07)
Randwick no place for pope, opines Cup winner Cummings (CathNews 10/7/07)
Pope set to come, trainers to sue over WYD (CathNews 5/7/07)

16 Jan 2008