YOUNG Catholics from around the world are set to experience Australia’s indigenous culture first hand during World Youth Day Sydney 2008 (WYD08).
WYD08 organisers have been eager from the outset to engage indigenous youth and to ensure appropriate guidance and advice from the indigenous community.
A 17-person Indigenous Communities Advisory Committee, made up of representatives from across the land, was established in early 2006 to guide the indigenous elements of WYD08 and to encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to come to Sydney for the event.
“Indigenous themes, symbols and colours will permeate WYD08 events and allow our visitors to experience the wonderful culture and history of Australia’s indigenous,” committee chairman Bishop Christopher Saunders said.
Among the key indigenous elements planned for WYD08 are:
a welcome to country by indigenous elders for Pope Benedict XVI
vestments featuring indigenous colours and designs for all bishops and cardinals
indigenous musicians and dancers performing for Pope Benedict
indigenous artists at the Youth Festival, and
religious artworks by Gumbaingirr/Dhungutti artist and Blake Prize finalist Richard Campbell.
To encourage participation and extend an appropriate welcome, an indigenous message stick from the Sydney community has accompanied the WYD Cross and Icon of Our Lady in their journey around Australia, inviting young indigenous people to Sydney for the event.
“We welcome Pope Benedict and the many young Catholics coming here to celebrate their faith on this land,” Sydney community leader Elsie Heiss said.
“WYD08 will draw the attention of the world to this Great South Land and its people. It will be a marvellous opportunity to show the indigenous face of the Catholic Church in Australia.”
Sydney will host the 23rd World Youth Day from 15-20 July. Organised by the Catholic Church but open to all, WYD08 is expected to attract 500,000 to the Final Mass, where Pope Benedict XVI will preside.
The Catholic Leader is an Australian award-winning Catholic newspaper that has been published by the Archdiocese of Brisbane since 1929. Our journalism seeks to provide a full, accurate and balanced Catholic perspective of local, national and international news while upholding the dignity of the human person.
The Catholic Leader acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the First Peoples of this country and especially acknowledge the traditional owners on whose lands we live and work throughout the Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.