World Youth Day 2008 “blueprints” finalized

Sydney, Australia, Dec 13, 2007 / 12:22 pm (CNA) .- Operational plans for World Youth Day 2008 have been approved by the Pontifical Council of the Laity, the Vatican body overseeing preparations.

Twenty three separate events are planned between July 15 and July 20 for the international youth gathering.  The largest event will be the final Mass for an estimated 500,000 people at Randwick Racecourse and nearby Centennial Parklands.

The coordinator of the Sydney event, Bishop Anthony Fisher OP, said members of the Pontifical Council of the Laity (PCL) were briefed on 17,000 pages of plans.

“The PCL were extremely positive and even made some helpful suggestions,” Bishop Fisher said from Rome.

“We now have a final blueprint for staging the world’s biggest youth event in Sydney next year.”

Bishop Fisher said that World Youth Day 2008 would meet its target of 125,000 international visitors.  Statistics show that at present the United States, Italy, and Germany are providing the most overseas pilgrims.

World Youth Day is a Catholic-organized event open to everyone.  It aims to help young people build bridges of friendship and hope between peoples, cultures, and continents.

The Sydney event will mark the first visit to Australia by Pope Benedict XVI.