Saturday, 31 May 2008


VATICAN CITY, 30 MAY 2008 (VIS) - The programme of Benedict XVI's forthcoming apostolic trip to Sydney , Australia , for the 23rd World Youth Day was made public today. The trip is due to take place from 12 to 21 July.

The Pope will depart from Rome 's Fiumicino airport at 10 a .m. on Saturday 12 July, landing at 9.15 a .m. (Australian time) at the airport of Darwin/RAAF Military Base . After a brief stopover, his flight will proceed to Sydney 's Richmond airport. Having landed there, the Pope will travel to a private residence where he will remain until the morning of Thursday 17 July.

On 17 July, having celebrated Mass in private, the Pope will participate in the welcome ceremony at Sydney's Government House, after which he will pay a courtesy visit to the governor general and meet with the prime minister. Following a brief display of traditional Aboriginal dances and songs, he will then board the ship "Sydney 2000" and be taken to the city's East Darling Harbour where he will be welcomed by young people.

On Friday 18 July he will again celebrate a private Mass after which, at 10.30 a .m., he is due to participate in an ecumenical meeting in the crypt of St. Mary's Cathedral in Sydney before going on to meet with representatives of other religions in the cathedral chapter. Having lunched with a number of young people, he will pronounce a prayer for the beginning of the Way of the Cross in the square in front of St. Mary's Cathedral. At 6.45 p.m. he will meet a group of disadvantaged young people at the Sacred Heart church of Notre Dame University .

At 9.30 a .m. on Saturday 19 July, Benedict XVI will celebrate Mass in St. Mary's Cathedral with Australian bishops, seminarians and novices, and consecrate the building's new altar. Having had lunch with the bishops, that evening he will travel to the Randwick Racecourse to preside at a prayer vigil with young people.

At 10 a .m. on Sunday 20 July, he will preside at Mass for 23rd World Youth Day and pray the Angelus at Randwick Racecourse. At 6 p.m. on the same day, he will deliver an address during a meeting of benefactors and organisers of the 23rd World Youth Day in the chapter house of St. Mary's Cathedral.

On Monday 21 July, having celebrated Mass in private, the Pope will travel to The Domain in Sydney where he will bid farewell to the 23rd World Youth Day volunteers, and pronounce an address. He will then go directly to Sydney 's international airport, where he will be greeted by the authorities before departing by plane for Darwin . Following a brief stopover, his flight will proceed to Rome where the Holy Father is due to arrive at around 11 p.m.