Pope personally thanks WYD08 Volunteers

Sydney, Australia, Jul 20, 2008 / 11:06 pm (CNA) .- The Pope personally thanked volunteers of World Youth Day this morning on the lawn of Sydney's famous park, The Domain, where hundreds of volunteers gathered to say goodbye to the Holy Father just hours before he was scheduled to leave for Rome.

“I want to thank all of you for the generous commitment of time and energy you have made, in order to ensure the smooth running of each of the events we have celebrated together,” Pope Benedict told the volunteers. 

“Your efforts have prepared the ground for the Spirit to come down in power, forging bonds of unity and friendship among young people from widely differing backgrounds, and rekindling their love for Jesus Christ and his Church.”

He then thanked each of the bishops, priests, religious, teachers, host families, schools and parish communities who ‘have given so much to make World Youth Day a success.” He also particularly thanked Bishop Anthony Fisher and Mr. Danny Casey, the organizers of WYD08.

“We read in the Acts of the Apostles that ‘it is more blessed to give than to receive- but I trust that you will nevertheless have received much from those you have served so generously in the course of our celebrations. To all of you, I say a sincere and heartfelt ‘thank you'."

“As I set off on my journey back to Rome, I shall treasure the memory of the many grace-filled events we have experienced together… I pray that you too will take many precious memories and spiritual insights away with you, and will return to your homes and families with fresh zeal to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” said the Pope.

“In the power of the Spirit, go forth now to renew the face of the earth!" the Pope exhorted the crowd.

Guy Sebastian, winner of the inaugural Australian Idol competition, and Paulini, who composed the WYD song, “Receive the Power,” performed in front of the Pope as he met with WYD08 ambassadors, Australian sports stars, and victims of accidents before leaving for the Papal flight at the Sydney Airport.