National committees announced for World Youth Day 2008

Thursday 29 June 2006

The World Youth Day 2008 organisers have announced the establishment of four committees to prepare Australia’s Catholic community for World Youth Day 2008, on the eve of the two-year milestone to staging the world’s biggest youth event in July 2008.

World Youth Day Sydney 2008 (WYD08) Coordinator Bishop Anthony Fisher OP confirmed the consultation structure across the Australian Catholic Church, announcing the WYD08 Diocesan and Youth Ministry Committee, the Communities and Movements Committee, the Education Committee and the Indigenous Communities Committee.

“The Committees will each play a vital role in ensuring we understand and communicate appropriately with the whole Australian community. WYD08 is a celebration for all Australians so we want to make sure that we take into account the needs and ideas of a broad range of stakeholders in our planning and preparations,” he said.

There are approximately 5 million Catholics in Australia located across 1363 parishes and WYD08 organisers are keen to engage the whole country in the spiritual and logistical preparations and celebrations over the coming two years.

Bishop Fisher said the members of the Diocesan and Youth Ministry Committee would be the principal link between the WYD08 organisers and the Australian dioceses and youth ministries. Representatives from all 28 territorial Dioceses are on the committee.

Members will play an important role within their Diocese, ensuring that WYD08 programmes and information are disseminated in the most appropriate way, and acting as a point of advice and liaison to the WYD08 office.

“There are a large number of programmes that will engage young Australians from school level to youth leadership, which we will be launching next month and these activities will be communicated through this committee,” Bishop Fisher said.

“These representatives will also feed back to us the hopes, suggestions and concerns of people ‘on the ground’. We very much want to hear from priests and people, as well as ensuring they are well informed and engaged from the start.”

A separate Communities and Movements Advisory Committee will assist in a similar liaison and advisory role with Catholic communities and movements throughout Australia, with a special focus on community, charism and cultural appreciation. Members of this committee are drawn from the Churches of Oriental Rite, major ecclesial movements and communities, ethnic chaplaincies and religious congregations.

The WYD08 Education Committee is made up of representatives of a variety of education bodies including the Catholic Education Offices, non-systemic Catholic schools, state school catechists and parents, principals and teachers. The focus of this Committee is on secondary students, with the production of five special WYD08 curriculum modules to maximise awareness of and participation in the WYD08 preparation programme and WYD08 itself.

The Indigenous Communities Advisory Committee will draw representatives from across Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. The Committee will provide special programmes to engage indigenous Catholic youth in the World Youth Day lead up and event programme in 2008. The first meeting of this Committee planned for this October will mark an important historical event for Aboriginal Catholics, the celebration of the 20-year anniversary of the visit of Pope John Paul II to the Northern Territory.

The committees are expected to meet formally several times a year and to liaise on a regular basis with the WYD08 office.

World Youth Day is the Catholic Church’s annual pilgrimage and festival for youth and with youth. Inspired by great gatherings of the world’s youth for Palm Sunday in Rome, Pope John Paul II established World Youth Day as an. a regular event and a way to reach out to the next generation of Catholics. It seeks to strengthen the faith of young people and rejuvenate the whole Church. It will be held in Sydney from 15 – 20 July, 2008 and organisers are anticipating that up to 500,000 pilgrims will participate.

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI will make his first visit to Australia to take part in World Youth Day Sydney 2008.

Information about the committees can be viewed on the World Youth Day Sydney 2008 website under the WYD08 Team section.