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Pope’s busy meeting schedule continues

Please see attached media release, quick version below.



500 million people globally watch the Stations of the Cross

Pope’s busy meeting schedule continues

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI continued his packed schedule of meetings and events on day six of his visit to Sydney for World Youth Day 2008 (WYD08).

The Holy Father started his day in the usual WYD08 way - with morning prayers and his daily inspirational text message: “The Spirit impels us 4ward 2wards others; the fire of his love makes us missionaries of God’s charity. C U tomorrow nite – BXVI”

After 500,000 people turned out to welcome him to Sydney yesterday, an expected international TV audience of 500 million has seen the powerful re-enactment of the Stations of the Cross - the last moments of Jesus’ life.

This morning, the Holy Father held private meetings with the Governor of NSW, Marie Bashir; the Premier of NSW Morris Iemma; and the Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore and their families.

He then prayed with other Christian leaders in the Crypt of St Mary’s Cathedral where he thanked Bishop Robert Forsythe from the Anglican Church and Cardinal Pell after they both gave addresses.

He also extended his warm wishes to Cardinal Edward Cassidy, former President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, who could not attend the event due to ill-health.

His Holiness applauded the ecumenical effort of Australians: “Australians cherish cordial and frank discussion. This has served the ecumenical movement well.  An example would be the Covenant signed in 2004 by the members of the National Council of Churches in Australia.”

But he also spoke of the importance of moving forward: “Dear friends in Christ, I think you would agree that the ecumenical movement has reached a critical juncture.  To move forward, we must continually ask God to renew our minds with the Holy Spirit, who speaks to us through the scriptures and guides us into all truth.

“We must guard against any temptation to view doctrine as divisive and hence an impediment to the seemingly more pressing and immediate task of improving the world in which we live.  In fact, the history of the Church demonstrates that praxis is not only inseparable from, but actually flows out of, didache or teaching.”

Following this prayer, he met representatives of other faith traditions in St Mary’s Cathedral Chapter House. Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence from the Great Synagogue in Sydney and Sheik Shady Alsuleiman from the National Council of Imams both gave addresses.

In his role as spiritual leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict thanked the 40 people in attendance for their work in bringing peace and faith to the community.

“My dear friends, I have come to Australia as an ambassador of peace. For this reason, I feel blessed to meet you who, likewise, share this yearning and the desire to help the world attain it.  Our quest for peace goes hand in hand with our search for meaning, for it is in discovering the truth that we find the sure road to peace. Our effort to bring about reconciliation between peoples springs from, and is directed to, that truth which gives purpose to life.  Religion offers peace, but more importantly, it arouses within the human spirit a thirst for truth and a hunger for virtue.”

The Pope then dined with 12 lucky young people from across the world. Those chosen were:


·         Armando Cervantes: 27, USA

·         Clare Dooley: 30, New Zealand

·         Craig Ashby: 21, Australia

·         Fidel Mateos Rodriguez: 25, Spain

·         Gabriel Nangile: 28, Papua New Guinea

·         Helena de Sousa: 25, East Timor

·         Ijeoma Jacinta Igwe: 25, Nigeria

·         Jean Fabien (Muaka Muaka Baloza): 29, Democratic Republic of the Congo

·         Jorgiana Aldren Lima de Santana: 26, Brazil

·         Marie-Bénédicte Esnault: 22, France

·         Teresa Wilson: 31, Australia

·         Wonhyong Cho: 28, Korea


The Pope and young people dined on sweet potato and pear soup for entrée, Chicken Diane for main course, and lemon and passionfruit meringue pie for dessert.

The Holy Father then attended the first station of the Stations of the Cross event - The Last Supper, on the steps of St Mary’s Cathedral - and then watched the event from the Crypt of the Cathedral.

More than 270,000 people were expected to watch the Stations at event sites around Sydney.

The Holy Father’s final meeting started at 6.45pm where he met disadvantaged young people from Australia at the Sacred Heart Church in Darlinghurst.

Young Australians Samantha Gerdes and Andrew Holmes addressed the Holy Father at this meeting.

Tomorrow, over 180,000 people are expected to walk over the Sydney Harbour Bridge as part of the Pilgrimage Walk which begins at 5am. Youth Festival events at Randwick Racecourse begin at 12noon and the Evening Vigil with the Pope will begin at 7pm.




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