.- Before the recitation of the Angelus on Sunday, July 6 in Castel Gandolfo, Pope Benedict XVI requested prayers for his upcoming trip to Sydney, Australia for the 23rd World Youth Day.
The Holy Father said, “My head is already in Australia, where God willing, I will go next Saturday, July 12.”
“Over the last few months the Youth Cross has traveled across Oceania. In Sydney there will be a silent witness of the alliance between Our Lord Jesus Christ and the next generation.”
The Pontiff then reviewed the major activities to take place during WYD and stressed that the “Australian Bishops Conference has prepared everything with care, correctly with the collaboration of the civil authorities.”
“The first groups of young people are departing from the other continents for Australia. I invite the entire Church to participate in this next phase of the great youth pilgrimage to the world, initiated in 1985 by the Servant of God John Paul II.”
“The Holy Spirit prods the Church ‘to take to the open seas’ yet again to bring to all people the good news of the love of God, fully revealed in Jesus Christ, who died and rose again for us,” Benedict XVI stated.
He also expressed hope that “Catholics from the four corners of the earth will unite with me and the young people gathered, as in a Cenacle, in Sydney fervently invoking the Holy Spirit so that He will inundate hearts with interior light and love for God and neighbor.”
“Together with the Cross, there is an icon of the Virgin Mary which accompanies the World Youth Day. We entrust to her maternal care this trip to Australia and the meeting of youth in Sydney. In addition, on this first Sunday of July, I invoke the intercession of Mary so that summertime may offer to all people a time for rest and physical and spiritual renewal.”
After the Angelus, Pope Benedict directed these words towards the English-speaking pilgrims: “I am happy to welcome all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present at this Angelus. During these months many will be taking their annual holiday. Let us pray that all who are traveling on the roads will do so in safety, with prudence and respect for others. In this way, our summer break will truly be a time for relaxation, family life and friendship.”