Journey of the Cross and Icon through the Lismore Diocese

Tuesday February 6, 2007

The World Youth Day Cross and Icon will travel through the Lismore Diocese from the morning of July 31 till the evening of August 7, 2007.

All planning at this point is still in preliminary stages but we envisage the journey will begin with an early morning handover ceremony from the Maitland-Newcastle diocese at the top of North Brother, Laurieton. The itinerary will proceed as follows:

Tuesday July 31
sunrise Handover ceremony with Maitland-Newcastle
9:00am Laurieton parish
12:00pm Port Macquarie parish


August 1
10:00am – 3:00pm First large gathering: Trial Bay Gaol
Approximately 1,200 Years 10 and 11 students, from the Catholic high schools from the southern half of the diocese, will be brought in for this event. The event will incorporate liturgical elements, music ministry provided by youth from Casino parish and by the NET music ministry team, personal witness, aboriginal and other cultures etc.
The site of the gaol was chosen as a symbol of un-freedom. The cross tells us of Christ who frees us from enslavement. The youth will have the opportunity to touch, reverence and carry the cross and icon as a sign of their call to offer their lives for Christ.
We are also mindful of our responsibility to care for creation, so a significant element of this gathering will be the planting of trees by the students. The National Parks and Wildlife have kindly donated the trees for this event.
Another major element planned is the presenting of replicas of the World Youth Day Cross to representatives of each school, to be taken back to their schools and put in a place of honour to remind them of World Youth Day and Christ’s call to them.
4:00pm Kempsey Parish overnight


Thursday August 2
9:00am Nambucca Valley: the cross and icon will be welcomed by the local indigenous communities. The exact location for this event is still being determined in consultation with the communities.
1:30pm Bellingen parish
7:00pm Coffs Harbour parish overnight and morning

Friday August 3
am Coffs Harbour parish: possible procession/pilgrimage walk with the cross and icon from the city centre (Harbour Drive) to the Jetty.
1:00pm Grafton parish afternoon and overnight


Saturday August 4
9:00am Maclean parish: procession to wharf
10:00am Cross and icon to travel by boat along Clarence River to Harwood Island wharf: there is a strong early Catholic association with the Clarence Valley.
10:30am Welcome at Harwood Island wharf.
1:00pm Coraki parish: parish and indigenous welcome
4:00pm Casino parish overnight and morning

Sunday August 5
11:00am Lismore: Procession through streets to St. Carthage’s Cathedral.
1:00pm Cathedral afternoon and overnight: Mass, overnight vigil etc.

Monday August 6
This day is still a work in progress. It will include our second large diocesan gathering in the north of the diocese.
Negotiations are still in progress with local government. This event will be similar to the Trial Bay Gaol event; with approximately 1400 year 10 and 11 students to be transported from high schools in the northern half of the diocese.
4:00pm Ballina parish overnight

Tuesday August 7
10:30am Murwillumbah parish
4:00pm Tweed Heads: farewell ceremony

Our diocesan planning is still in early stages. The bulk of our planning to this stage has been organising times and places. Now that the parishes have received the itinerary, planning the nature and content of events will begin in earnest.

Each of the parishes that will host the cross and icon are now in the process of forming task groups to plan their events. They will involve their local schools and wider parish members and local community. Each parish is being encouraged to think about the places where youth gather eg. Malls, campuses, sport grounds etc and look at the possibilities of having cross and icon events in these places.

The visit of the World Youth Day Cross and Icon to our diocese is an exciting time and an invitation to commitment and renewal in Christ; not simply for our young people but for all young-at-heart Christians in the Lismore diocese. The cross and icon will be for us a herald and a small foretaste of what is to come in Sydney in 2008. I hope that it will encourage our young people to think more deeply about the central place of Christ and the Church in their life. May the visit of the World Youth Day cross and icon encourage all of us to pray and work for a profound renewal of parish life and in particular to think imaginatively as to how our communities can be more welcoming to young people.

Fr. Paul Winter
Lismore Diocese WYD Cross and Icon Sub-Committee