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 Used with Permission- Archdiocese of Sydney

2018 will mark 10 years since World Youth Day (WYD) Sydney and the visit of Pope Benedict to Australia.

Every Catholic in Australia will have their own personal experience and encounters from the event of World Youth Day (WYD) in Sydney, Days in the Diocese, and the Journey of the WYD Cross and Icon. It re-invigorated parishes, schools and Church leadership. Most importantly it re-invigorated the faith life of young people and empowered them to step forward as maturing disciples to make positive contributions to our Church.

By highlighting the 10 year anniversary of WYD08 the Church is invited to immerse itself in the memories and graces brought forth by the event. Let them rejuvenate our hearts and our vision, calling us to continue to hold up and celebrate the life, perspectives and contribution of young people in the Church.

World Youth Day Ten Years on
Reflection by  Fr Chris Ryan MGL

At the dawn of the third millennium, St John Paul II, the founder and now patron saint of the World Youth Days, invited the Church to “remember the past with gratitude, to live the present with enthusiasm and to look forward to the future with confidence” (Novo Millennio Ineunte 1).  As we look towards the tenth anniversary of our World Youth Day, the 23rd international WYD, which was held in Sydney from July 15-20, 2008, it is important that we take JPII’s words to heart.

As I remember the preparations and the events of WYD08 I am grateful for the young people whose lives the Holy Spirit touched, and who have gone on to take up the mission of Jesus Christ in countless ways.  I think of young people who, from their involvement in WYD08, have gone to serve as youth ministers, priests, consecrated sisters, worked in the media to communicate the Gospel and the Church’s teaching, become leaders in the Church’s ministry to families and in the service of life… the list could go on and on.

I also remember the unprecedented levels of Church- wide collaboration: across dioceses; between parishes, groups, agencies, and ecclesial movements; between young and old; among clergy, religious and laypeople.  As a Church we learnt something wonderful about being in communion with one another, and about what we can achieve together in mission.  We needed a mission big enough to call forth our best, our creativity and our passion, and WYD008 delivered!

Of course, I also remember a simple wooden cross and a beautiful icon of our Lady.  These defining symbols of World Youth Day will forever be etched in my memory.  The World Youth Day Cross remind us that the heart of World Youth Day and the heart of the Church’s mission is the Lord Jesus Christ, crucified and risen from the dead.  The Salus Populi Romani Icon of the Blessed Virgin reminds us that we, young and old, are called to be missionary disciples, following the example of Mary our Mother and the first disciple.  

I am filled with gratitude when I remember these World Youth Day gifts to our Church.  In fact, it is vital to remember these gifts if we are to look forward to the future with confidence.  As we celebrate the Year of Youth in 2018, we who were so touched by the events of the Sydney World Youth Day must pass on the gift of faith, the gift of communion, and the gift of mission to another generation of young people.  The Year of Youth is a moment to recapture the unity and collaboration of WYD08 so that we might respond to the challenges of a new moment with fresh energy, commitment, and imagination.  Above all, the Year of Youth invites us to renew our confidence in Jesus the Christ, the friend of young people and the life of the world.  Let’s make the most of this opportunity!


 
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