Bishop Joseph Oudeman, acting head of the Brisbane Archdiocese, said the Archdiocese was overjoyed by the news and would fully support Sydney in its staging of World Youth Day in July 2008.
Bishop Oudeman was speaking after Pope Benedict XVI officially announced Sydney as the host in Cologne, Germany.
“Even though we half-suspected it would be the case, it was still great news,” Bishop Oudeman said.
“It will be a wonderful occasion for the Holy Father to visit Australia but also for the youth of many lands.
“Since it was a great success in Cologne, we would hope that the same spirit of joy in the faith and thanksgiving for God’s blessing would also touch the young people at World Youth Day 2008,” he said.
The XXI World Youth Day will be held over 7 days and is likely to be the biggest event in Australia following the 2000 Olympics.
The Sydney proposal based its projections upon participant numbers of 80,000 to 100,000 overseas visitors on top of an expected 100,000 – 125,000 Australians.
Brisbane and other dioceses will assist Sydney by initially absorbing some international arrivals during the “days of encounter” phase.
In a boost to the local economy it is estimated the Brisbane Archdiocese could play host to between 5000 and 10,000 young pilgrims at this time.
The “days of encounter” phase involves overseas visitors arriving at different entry points and immersing themselves in the local culture before moving onto Sydney for the opening ceremony.
The established practice is for a diocese to partner up with dioceses from several countries around the world and arrange for the billeting of their international pilgrims.
Brisbane Archdiocese will also be a part of the relay of the World Youth Day cross, which is always the symbolic focal point of the celebrations.
The Brisbane Archdiocese would be working with State and local government bodies to ensure the young peoples visit to Queensland is memorable.
Released by the Catholic Communications Office