Government House, Sydney
Dear Australian Friends,
It is with great joy that I greet you today. I would like to thank the Governor-General, Major-General Michael Jeffery and Prime Minister Rudd for honouring me by their presence at this ceremony and for welcoming me so graciously. As you know, I have been able to enjoy some quiet days since my arrival in
Some might ask what motivates thousands of young people to undertake what is for many a long and demanding journey in order to participate in an event of this kind. Ever since the first World Youth Day in 1986, it has been evident that vast numbers of young people appreciate the opportunity to come together to deepen their faith in Christ and to share with one another a joyful experience of communion in his Church. They long to hear the word of God, and to learn more about their Christian faith. They are eager to take part in an event which brings into focus the high ideals that inspire them, and they return home filled with hope and renewed in their resolve to contribute to the building of a better world. For me it is a joy to be with them, to pray with them and to celebrate the Eucharist with them. World Youth Day fills me with confidence for the future of the Church and the future of our world.
It seems particularly appropriate to celebrate World Youth Day here, since the Church in
The settlers who came here from
With many thousands of young people visiting
First and foremost, though, I am here to meet the young, from
Dear Australian friends, once again I thank you for your generous welcome and I look forward to spending these days with you and with the young people of the world. May God bless all who are present, all the pilgrims and all who live in this land. And may he always bless and protect the Commonwealth of Australia.