World Youth Day: 10 years on

Ten years ago, Pope Benedict XVI visited Sydney to celebrate World Youth Day (WYD), a celebration intended to reinvigorate parishes, schools and leadership within the Church in Australia. Now, 10 years on, celebrating the anniversary of WYD is providing an opportunity to rejuvenate our hearts and our vision by remembering WYD08.

World Youth Day 2008

The 23rd World Youth Day was celebrated in the Archdiocese of Sydney in 2008. The festival, which lasted five days, marked the first WYD held in Australia and the entirety of Oceania.

Nearly 500,000 young people from more than 200 countries took part in that week’s festivities. That number ballooned to more than 1,000,000 during the weekend. In addition to the youth who attended in attendance, WYD Sydney attracted more than 600 bishops and cardinals as well as 6,600 reporters from around the world. No doubt, Pope Benedict’s attendance was a major draw card.

The theme for WYD 2008 was: You will receive the power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. The official song for the festival was “Receive the Power” by Guy Sebastian and Gary Pinto.

World Youth Day: 10 year anniversary

“Remember the past with gratitude, to live the present with enthusiasm and to look forward to the future with confidence.” These are the word of St John Paul II, the founder and patron saint of World Youth Days.

St John Paul II’s words are especially poignant now as, a decade later, we reflect on World Youth Day 2008

“As I remember the preparations and the events of WYD08 I am grateful for the young people whose life the Holy Spirit touched, and who have gone on to take up the mission of Jesus Christ in countless ways,” says Fr Chris Ryan MGL on the Office for Youth website.

“I think of young people who, from their involvement in WYD08 have gone to serve as youth ministers, priests, consecrated sisters, worked in the media to communicate the Gospel of the Church’s teaching, become leaders in the Church’s ministry to families and in the service of life...the list could go on.

“I am filled with gratitude when I remember these World Youth Day gifts to our Church. In fact, it is vital to remember these gifts if we are to look forward to the future with confidence.”

Reflecting on World Youth Day

Taking the time to reflect upon World Youth Day 2008 provides the opportunity to be re-immersed in the memories and grace the festival brought with it.

It is also an opportunity to continue with the celebration of life and the many contributions of young people within the Church.

The next World Youth Day will be held in Panama 2019. Click here to learn more about the upcoming celebration.

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