Monday, July 09, 2007

World Youth Day

Sydney 2008
Next July, hundreds of thousands of young people will arrive in Sydney for World Youth Day. What is WYD? Here's the answer from the official website for Sydney 2008:

World Youth Day is the Catholic Church's week of events for youth and with youth. It gathers thousands of young people from around the world to celebrate and learn about the Catholic faith and to build bridges of friendship and hope between continents, peoples and cultures.
It was started by JPII in 1986 and happens in Rome or internationally every year (this will be the 10th international event). Although called a 'day', major events will take place in Sydney during the week of 15th-22nd July (just over a year away), culminating in an overnight vigil at Randwick Racecourse with Pope Benedict and concluding mass on the Sunday.

If you haven't heard of it yet, you will soon. This will be huge. Just look at some figures for other gatherings:
Denver 500,000
Toronto 800,000
Paris 1,200,000
Częstochowa 1,600,000
Rome 2,000,000
Manilla 4,000,000
And from the website FAQ:
An estimated 500,000 participants are expected to attend at least one event during the World Youth Day week. We expect Sydney to receive 300,000 visitors during this time, including 125,000 from overseas. A media contingent of 3,000-5,000 is anticipated. At the last international WYD in Cologne in 2005, 1.2 million people attended the Final Mass and 7,000 media personnel covered the event.
Already 120,000 have registered for Sydney and there's still a year to go.

I'd love to hear what you think of this event. Has anyone been to one in the past? Do you have any ideas on what to do in response? A suggestion I liked (from my rector, so I'm paid to like it...) is that we should look into the possibility of billetting a few of the visitors.

14 comments:

Matthew Moffitt said...

AnCon next year is on JBF (Justification by Faith)!

M Moffitt

Bruce Yabsley said...

A suggestion I liked (from my rector, so I'm paid to like it...) is that we should look into the possibility of billetting a few of the visitors.

Good idea. (And I'm not paid to like it; I just do.)

Rob said...

I have a friend who attended the one in Toronto and absolutely loved it. He said the press was loving it as well, as the whole event brought a wonderful spirit (Spirit?) to the city. I imagine it'll be fantastic in next year's beautiful location.

Rob said...

Oh, by the way, the picture in this post serves as a beautiful computer desktop pic. =D

::aaron g:: said...

I have been wondering whether this event is something I should promote to an Anglican youth group.

Does anyone have thoughts on this?

tdix said...

One of my friends is the WYD coordinator for Caritas Australia (Catholic aid agency) but I'm not exactly sure about what he does. He wnet to the one in Cologne and said it smelled nice - no that's what I asked him.

I don't know too much about it but to me it seems to be too much of an end point in itself. There was an article in the Hearld recently saying Australian Catholics were trying to lure back the lapsed Catholics (all 4 million of them) so they could have a big turn out at WYD!

One of Freedom said...

Having loads of Roman Catholic friends, more that a few have attended such events. In fact one friend went to the one in Rome, but he describes meeting the Pope and drunken parties??? I'm sure he'd be able to find a drunken party in Utah so I don't hold much stock that his is a normative account.

My other friends who've gone found it incredibly moving and faith affirming. Makes me think of some of the awesome youth rallies we did in the Pentecostal world - those camp meetings are something else! But the problem with those things was always the return to normal parish life. You come back all full of zeal and the reality of just how 'normal' church life can be is discouraging. Personally I think there needs to be some sort of reintigration process, something where you can channel the zeal/passion into constructive avenues and let it bring real lasting life to the parish.

I see such things as opportunities. I hope that some churches will really take advantage of it and see their youth grow from this experience.

Ali said...

When the new Catholic church in the town where I grew up called themselves "Mary - Help of Christians" we considered renaming our church "Jesus - Even Better Help of Christians" :).

Ali said...

Here's an interesting article, on the subject, that came up in today's paper:

http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/you-are-not-real-churches-pope-says-to-protestants/2007/07/11/1183833598314.html

byron said...

Thanks for the link Ali, and for everyone's comments. It will be an interesting time to be in Sydney, I suspect. I'm really looking forward to it.

Anonymous said...

My concern is that on the one hand we avoid a perception of old sectarian controversies, while at the same time take full advantage of the context to promote a solely mediated relationship to God through his Son Jesus Christ.

For anyone who considers taking their (hopefully Reformed) Anglican youth group, it's worth considering that we are currently seeing the procession of the WYD Cross *and Icon*. Spirited event or not, it's hard to imagine it would be enSpirited at God's good pleasure.

Pag

Martin Kemp said...

Our church is about to do a series on the five solas. I think that the purpose is to pre-empt the WYD. Youthsurge, to the best of my knowledge, is doing the five solas as the basis of their year-long programme next year.

I think next year's event will really sort some people out, ie those who want to learn from and share with the Catholics in and those who want to challenge them. And then there will be those who want to challenge by dialogue and then there will be those who want to challenge in a more direct way.

Byron: What would you be hoping to achieve if you house a delegate?

byron said...

Pag - Spirited event or not, it's hard to imagine it would be enSpirited at God's good pleasure.
Perhaps God is easily pleased, but not easily satisfied.

Martin - I'm not convinced that a strenuous exposition of the solas is the most profitable way forward. As the SMH recently pointed out, there are something like four million nominal/lapsed RCs in Australia. My impression (and I'm generalising) is that most of them need to see the church displaying the same gracious welcome with which we have been welcomed by God. They are alienated from a/the church, which seems irrelevant or draconian. It is grace and peace they need; to taste the redeemer in the redeemed community. Of course, theology is important. But I suspect that Christian hospitality is much more important.

I think next year's event will really sort some people out, ie those who want to learn from and share with the Catholics and those who want to challenge them.
Why can't we do both?

What would you be hoping to achieve if you house a delegate?
To welcome a stranger; I might be entertaining an angel unawares.

Martin Kemp said...

Why can't we do both?

You can, that's why in my last comment I said there will be some who wish to challenge through dialogue. When I mentioned that there will be some who want to share with and learn from the Catholics I had in mind those who simply wish to pursue an uncritical ecumenical approach. This will not do. We had a reformation for a purpose.