Pope’s World Youth Day itinerary released

Sydney, Australia, May 29, 2008 / 06:17 pm (CNA) .- The organizers of World Youth Day have released a partial itinerary for Pope Benedict XVI’s time at the international youth event.

Pope Benedict will 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.

 He will arrive at the Richmond Royal Australian Air Force Base on Sunday, July 13, after which he will spend a few days resting.  His official welcome into Sydney will happen at Sydney Harbor and Barangaroo on July 17 at 2:45 in the afternoon.

On July 18, the Holy Father will preside over a re-enactment of the Last Supper during the Stations of the Cross. The re-enactment will take place on the steps of St. Mary’s Cathedral in spite of security concerns raised by the police.

A spokesman for World Youth Day, Jim Hanna, told the Sydney Morning Herald that police had advised the organizers “not to advertise the Pope's appearance because of the restricted capacity of Cathedral Square, not because of fears of an assassination attempt”, as other media outlets reported.

Before the final Mass on Sunday, July 20, Pope Benedict will be flown over Centennial Park and Randwick Racecourse in a helicopter.

His schedule also includes a private lunch with 12 young people, a meeting with disadvantaged youth, and meetings with Christian leaders and leaders of other faiths.

“His Holiness has a very full schedule on his first visit to Australia,” said Bishop Anthony Fisher OP, Coordinator of World Youth Day.  â€śHe 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.

To see a more detailed itinerary released by the Holy See's Press Office click here or visit http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=12795 .