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Religious and community leaders say “God Speed”

4 July 2008

Religious and community leaders say “God Speed” to 4000 young Kiwi Catholic WYD pilgrims

Church leaders and mayors have joined politicians in wishing young Kiwi Catholic pilgrims “God Speed” as they prepare to leave the country for World Youth Day in Sydney, forming the largest single group ever to leave New Zealand for a non-sporting event. The messages, which can be viewed on YouTube, included words from The Very Rev Ross Bay, Dean of Holy Trinity Cathedral, Auckland, who said: “From Anglicans around the country, we wish you well on this great pilgrimage … There will be lots of serious things to do; let’s hope you’ll also be building great friendships and having great fun!”

Javed Khan, president of the Federation of Islamic Associations, addressed touching words to Pope Benedict XVI and Cardinal Pell of Sydney, as well as to the pilgrims. After quoting from the Qur’an, he added, “You have an important mission as young believers! You are at a time in your lives when you are discovering the great gifts that God has blessed you with. I encourage you to seek and discover God and use the gifts he has bestowed on you, like your energy, like your passion, to light up the world and glorify God! … Wassalam and God Bless!”

John Banks, Mayor of Auckland wished pilgrims, “… a great time! Learn something! Show some real strong moral leadership and you will have achieved something very positive!”

Wendy Ross, representing the Jewish Community of New Zealand told the pilgrims, “We wish you great fun, great fellowship, and above all, great inspiration … in reaching out to other faiths, building bridges between your faith, and mine, and others.”

Andrew Williams, Mayor of North Shore City also addressed the pilgrims, saying, “I hope you have the opportunity to talk about all sorts of issues that confront our world: environmental sustainability, peace, and helping our countries in just getting on with one another. I hope you reinforce your faith, and please talk with your fellow young people about how to make this world a better place!”

Bob Harvey, Mayor of Waitakere City, told pilgrims, “It’s one of God’s great grants in your life … that you are called to serve, and you do that with a good heart and soul. I wish you well.”

Rodney McCann, National Leader of the Baptist Church in New Zealand said, “As Baptists we have a vast number of young people and they’re a wonderful part of our movement, so I’m just delighted to bring greetings on behalf of them and our whole movement to you.”

These and other messages can be viewed at


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