.- The Holy See’s Press Office has released the full itinerary for Pope Benedict XVI’s trip to World Youth Day, which will take place July 15-20.
He will arrive at the Richmond Royal Australian Air Force Base at 9:15 a.m. local time on Sunday, July 13, after which he will spend three days resting in private.
On 17 July Pope Benedict will begin his World Youth Day activities by celebrating a Mass in private. He will then meet with several officials of the Australian government, including Governor-General of Australia, Major General Michael Jeffery; Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd; New South Wales Governor Marie Bashir; and New South Wales Premier Morris Iemma.
Following a brief display of traditional Aboriginal dances and songs, he will then board the ship "Sydney 2000" for his official welcome to Sydney at 2:45 in the afternoon.
On July 18, the Holy Father will again begin the day with a private Mass after which, at 10:30 a.m., he is due to participate in an ecumenical meeting in the crypt of St. Mary's Cathedral in Sydney before going on to meet with representatives of other religions in the cathedral chapter.
Also on Friday, the Pope will have lunch with a group of young people and then following lunch he will proceed to the square in front of St. Mary’s Cathedral where he will begin the Way of the Cross with a prayer.
At 6:45 p.m. he will also meet a group of disadvantaged young people at the Sacred Heart church of Notre Dame University.
At 9:30 a.m. on Saturday July19, Benedict XVI will celebrate Mass in St. Mary's Cathedral with Australian bishops, seminarians and novices, and consecrate the building's new altar. Having had lunch with the bishops, that evening he will travel to the Randwick Racecourse to preside at a prayer vigil with young people.
Sunday will see the Holy Father arriving at the Randwick Racecourse in a helicopter to preside over Mass for 23rd World Youth Day and to recite the Angelus at noon. At 6 p.m. on the same day, he will deliver an address to the benefactors and organizers of World Youth Day in the chapter house of St. Mary's Cathedral.
The final day of the Pope’s itinerary will begin with a private Mass, followed by a trip to The Domain in Sydney where he will meet with the 23rd World Youth Day volunteers and bid farewell to the youth. He will then go directly to Sydney's international airport, where he will be greeted by the authorities before departing by plane for Darwin. After a brief stopover, his flight will proceed to Rome where the Holy Father is due to arrive at around 11 p.m.
“His Holiness has a very full schedule on his first visit to Australia,” said Bishop Anthony Fisher OP, Coordinator of World Youth Day. “He has requested specific meetings in order to connect with the full range of Australian youth and the youth of the world.
“As a Head of State, he will also be conducting several official meetings with civic leaders,” he said.