Archbishop John Bathersby of Brisbane has thanked the Queensland Government for funding to help cater for the 15,000 pilgrims expected to gather in Queensland in the lead-up to World Youth Day celebrations.
State Premier Anna Bligh recently announced the Government provide a $500,000 support package for World Youth Day.
The archbishop said he was “extremely grateful” to Premier Bligh and the Government for “their generous support in taking on this initiative and their assistance with Days in the Diocese in Brisbane and the rest of the state”.
“I am also grateful to Lord Mayor Campbell Newman (of Brisbane) for his generous assistance earlier for the visit of the (WYD) Cross and Icon to the Archdiocese of Brisbane,” he said.
“World Youth Day 2008 presents the Catholic Church in Queensland with an opportunity to reach out to young people and share with them the vision and message of Jesus Christ,” Archbishop Bathersby said.
“It also has the potential to enliven and renew the whole community as it harnesses the energy generated by these young people in our midst.
“Their presence will bring a special grace to Brisbane and all of Queensland.”
The archbishop said the Church looked forward to welcoming state and local government leaders and ministers to the special Days in the Diocese celebration on July 12 in Roma Street Parklands.
Known as the World Youth Day Heart of the City event, it is expected to receive a significant boost thanks to the Government’s support package.
Archdiocesan WYD secretariat co-ordinator Michael Hart said the offer of support was the culmination of a planning relationship between the WYD secretariat and the Government which went back more than two years.
“The submission included requests for transportation, policing and assistance with venue costs for the Heart of the City event which could draw as many as 20,000 people,” Mr Hart said.
“The package will also support other World Youth Day activities in other regions throughout Queensland.”
Released by The Catholic Leader