Sydney, Australia, Jul 16, 2008 / 03:43 am (CNA) .- Pope Benedict XVI held an unsual audience on Wednesday morning--a meeting with a koala, red-necked wallaby joey and other iconic Australian animals at the Kenthurst Study Centre.
â€śWe wanted to offer the Holy Father an opportunity to experience some of Australiaâ€™s unique fauna, and were delighted when our partners at Taronga Zoo offered to help,â€ť said Fr. Mark Podesta, WYD08 spokesman.
â€śThe Holy Father expressed that he wanted to meet some of our native animals, so we were more than happy to offer him this experience,â€ť he said.
Mr. Casey, Chief Operating Officer of World Youth Day, said the Zoo staff were very professional, showing great love for the animals in their care. The animals that they brought with them included a wallaby, koala, python, lizard, baby crocodile and an echidna.
The Pope patted each of the animals and thanked the team from Taronga Zoo.
Before meeting our native friends, Pope Benedict sent out his daily text message: â€śthe Holy Spirit gave the Apostles & gives u the power boldly 2 proclaim that Christ is risen! â€“ BXVIâ€ť