Pilgrimage coordinators from across the country gathered in Sydney last week for a national briefing to share pastoral preparation, pre-WYD pilgrimages, logistics, evangelisation strategies and post-WYD retreats. Those who could not make it to Sydney joined the meeting through an Xt3 webcast, organised by the Archdiocese of Sydney.
The national briefing was hosted by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Office for Youth, with input from Cosmos, the official tour operator for Australian pilgrims, the national WYD committee and Xt3, the official live stream partner for WYD.
World Youth Day briefings are now part of a collaborated national effort to prepare local groups for WYD. This approach emerged following WYD in 2008. The experience of a national committee helps to resource and support groups, communities and dioceses to prepare locally the best WYD experience for young people.
Great energy and enthusiasm emerged throughout the briefing day as Pilgrimage Coordinators received resources developed by the National WYD Committee including the Australian WYD t-shirt, Aussie pilgrim journal and local diocesan celebration details.
Many dioceses are embarking on a pre-WYD pilgrimage through travelling to various locations; the Holy Land, Rome or walking in the footsteps of Pope John Paul II in Poland.
Safety of pilgrims and staff is paramount; the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) offered training for all Pilgrimage Coordinators in partnership with Catholic Church Insurances (CCI) on risk management training and critical incident planning.
Malcolm Hart, Director of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Office for Youth said, “Australia’s focus on safety and risk management has been a high priority for the 2016 World Youth Day. We’ve developed and shared resources and strategies to provide the best possible support to pilgrimage groups.”
For family and friends in Australia, everyone is invited to join the WYD experience by watching the main events though a live stream on the Xt3 website. Hosted by the Archdiocese of Sydney, Xt3 will be live streaming all of the international events during WYD week from 26-31 July. Visit xt3.com/live/
The ACBC will share stories, photos and videos about the Australian experiences throughout WYD via the ACBC website, Facebook and Twitter. Follow @ACBCYouthMin and @ACBC1 on Twitter or visit Catholic.org.au/