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World Youth Day and Kenhurst Study Centre

The Holy Father arrived in Sydney on July 13, 2008. During his first days in Australia, His Holiness resided at Kenthurst Study Centre, a conference center entrusted to the Prelature of Opus Dei, where he was able to rest after his long trip and prepare for the World Youth Day. Kenthurst Study Centre, where hundreds of young people and adults take part each year in spiritual retreats and other activities of Christian formation, was honored to receive Benedict XVI and thus assist him in his service to the Church. On July 16, His Holiness moved to Cathedral House, where he resided during the days of the World Youth Day activities.

Thousands of pilgrims from all over the world traveled to Sydney for this event. The centers and apostolic works of Opus Dei in Australia helped to prepare for Benedict XVI's visit in various ways.

Nairana Study Centre organized a course for the volunteers who would lend assistance to the people arriving from overseas. The girls from the Tangara School collected funds to subsidize participation in World Youth Day by twelve students from the island of Tonga. During WYD, seven priests spent many hours each day in the school chapel, providing the Sacrament of Reconciliation. At the same school, a student from Hamilton, who traveled with the group from New Zealand, was baptized by the bishop of her city.

On July 17, more than 200,000 pilgrims received the Holy Father at Barrangaroo (Sydney). The Pope presented a hope-filled message to the young people. “Our world,” he said, “has grown weary of greed, exploitation and division, of the tedium of false idols and piecemeal responses, and the pain of false promises. Our hearts and minds are yearning for a vision of life where love endures, where gifts are shared, where unity is built, where freedom finds meaning in truth, and where identity is found in respectful communion. This is the work of the Holy Spirit!”

On Sunday the 20th, almost half a million people attended the Holy Mass celebrated by the Roman Pontiff. In his homily, the Holy Father asked: “What will you leave to the next generation? . . . How are you using the gifts you have been given, the 'power' which the Holy Spirit is even now prepared to release within you?” And he ended his homily by insisting: “Dear young friends, the Lord is asking you to be prophets of this new age, messengers of his love, drawing people to the Father and building a future of hope for all humanity.”

During World Youth Day, the people of Sydney were witnesses to a moving manifestation of faith in Christ and affection for the Holy Father. Many of the young people were captivated by the Pope's kindness and wisdom and resolved to go to Madrid to take part in the next World Youth Day in 2011.

Romana, No. 47, July-December 2008, p. 325-326.