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Pope Benedict in Australia for World Youth Day

Pope Benedict to holiday in Australia before World Youth Day

The Vatican has confirmed that His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI will spend three extra days resting in Australia before heading to Sydney for World Youth Day 2008 (WYD08).

The trip to Australia will be the longest journey the Holy Father has ever undertaken. The Holy Father normally takes leave at this time and he has decided to spend several days preparing for his encounter with young people from 17-21 July this year.

The announcement by the Vatican confirms that the Holy Father will spend eight days in Australia, five days of which will involve World Youth Day activities.

“His Holiness will leave Rome on 12 July and arrive in Australia on Sunday 13 July,” said Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell.

“He will fly out on Monday 21 July,” Cardinal Pell said.

Bishop Anthony Fisher OP, Coordinator of WYD08, said he was pleased the Holy Father would have some private time to rest and prepare for the World Youth Day.

“We are delighted that the Holy Father has chosen to arrive early and spend more time in Australia,” Bishop Fisher said.

“We were asked to nominate a suitable location for his stay and have recommended somewhere serene, beautiful and suitable for the leader of the world’s Catholics.

“He will have the opportunity to see some of Australia’s beautiful flora and fauna.

“We cannot, of course, disclose the location; he is a Head of State seeking private time and has asked that that privacy be respected.

“Australia joins a very exclusive club in July; we will be only the third nation (outside Italy) to have been visited by each of the three ‘travelling’ Popes – Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul II and now Pope Benedict XVI.

“The other two countries are the United States and Turkey.”

Cardinal Pell said appropriate security arrangements would be in place throughout the Pope’s visit.

Pope Benedict will be officially welcomed into Sydney in a harbourside ceremony on Thursday 17 July and will take part in WYD08 events until Sunday 20 July.
ends

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