World Youth Day (It. La Giornata Mondiale della Gioventù is a youth oriented Roman Catholic Church promotional event aimed at young people. While the event itself celebrates the Catholic faith, young people are invited without discrimination. World Youth Day is not associated with International Youth Day or any of the international observance days.

World Youth Day was initiated by Pope John Paul II in 1984. It is celebrated on a diocesan level annually, and at a week-long international level every two to three years at different locations. The international level events attract hundreds of thousands of youth from almost every country on the planet. It is a major part of the upsurge in Catholic Youth Work in some countries over recent years; for example, the Director of Catholic Youth Services for England and Wales has said of the event that it would have far-reaching effects, not restricted to those who attended.

Vatican City €2 commemorative coin of 2005 celebrating the Cologne World Youth Day
Vatican City €2 commemorative coin of 2005 celebrating the Cologne World Youth Day

The stated purposes of World Youth Day are:

1. Gathering together
2. Putting trust in the young
3. Meeting the international world on a human level

World Youth Day 2008

Main article: World Youth Day 2008

Australia was chosen as the site of the 2008 World Youth Day celebrations. The decision was made by Pope Benedict XVI during the conclusion ceremonies of the 2005 World Youth Day celebrations in Cologne, Germany.[7]

The occasion will mark only the fourth Papal visit to the country, and has been commended by the then Prime Minister of Australia John Howard and the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell.[8]

The theme of World Youth Day 2008 will be "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be my witnesses" (Acts1:8)

World Youth Day 2008 will be held in Randwick, Sydney. Most activity will occur within Randwick Racecourse which has been given to the Roman Catholic Church to use for the event. Although holiday accommodation is scarce in this area, tens of thousands of international visitors are expected to stay in the 'WYD08 Allocated Accommodation' for the event.

There has been significant criticism of the 2008 World Youth Day due to a $150 million dollar funding arrangement from the Commonwealth and New South Wales State Governments. Both the Commonwealth and New South Wales states Governments have stated that the revenue generated by World Youth Day will offset these costs. However, Freedom of Information ('FoI') applications for Government revenue estimates have been denied[9]

There has also been significant opposition to World Youth Day on the grounds that it is a propoganda rally for the Catholic Church. Local activist groups, including Atheist, Freethinker, Secular and Homosexual groups under the banner NoToPope Coalition will be protesting at World Youth Day 2008 by, among other things, handing out information and providing free condoms to attendees [10]. Other groups including World Truth Dayhave various protests planned.

Have Your Say :
Are you coming Down Under here in Aus, Sydney?
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I hope they get extra security, there may be terrorist threats or something...