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Massive altar roof raised into place at Racecourse

Media release
Monday 23 June 2008

Massive altar roof raised into place at Randwick Racecourse
for World Youth Day 2008

A massive roof, measuring 30 metres by 40 metres, has been raised into place above the sanctuary where His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI will say Mass for up to half a million people next month.

Building contractors preparing Randwick Racecourse for World Youth Day Sydney 2008 (WYD08) today hoisted the roof 25 metres off the ground and 17 metres above the floor of the sanctuary – the structure where the altar will be located.

“It’s amazing what our contractors have been able to build in the few short weeks they’ve been on site,” said WYD08 Coordinator Bishop Anthony Fisher OP.

“The sanctuary is taking shape very quickly. Soon, they will start applying the iconic Australian design elements such as ‘Marjorie’s Bird’ - an Indigenous painting depicting the Holy Spirit by Tiwi Islander artist Marjorie Liddy.

“While its size will make it impressive, we’ve taken great care to ensure the sanctuary will also be a sacred liturgical space. It will establish the perfect atmosphere for prayer, adoration and reflection.”

The sanctuary will accommodate:

• 500 cardinals and bishops
• A 300-strong WYD08 choir and
• An 80-piece orchestra

WYD08 Chief Operating Officer Danny Casey said Southern Cross Precinct – the name given to the joint Randwick Racecourse/Centennial Park venue site - will host the last two World Youth Day events.

“The first is the Evening Vigil with the Holy Father on Saturday 19 July. We expect 225,000 pilgrims to sleep out on site afterwards – that’s more people than the entire population of the Northern Territory.

“When they awake, the Holy Father will return for the Final Mass, and we expect the overnight population will double in the morning as Sydneysiders arrive to take their places in the racecourse and Centennial Park.”

Mr Casey said all construction work on the racecourse was carried out strictly in line with measures approved by the AJC, the NSW Government and WYD08.

“We rely on the AJC to advise our contractors on any works in or around a racing or training surface. We always operate in accordance with agreed protocols.”

Sydney will host the 23rd World Youth Day from 15 – 20 July. Hosted by the Catholic Church but open to all, WYD08 will mark the first visit to Australia by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.

Only 22 days to go to WYD08!


© Scoop Media

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