ROCKVILLE CENTRE, NEW YORK, July 11, 2007—The Most Reverend William Murphy, Bishop, Diocese of Rockville Centre, will accompany more than 200 young people from the diocese to World Youth Day 2008 in Sydney, Australia, July 8 to July 22, 2008. This year’s theme is “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses.” Acts 1:8
The diocesan group will visit Singapore before departing for Australia, where they will enjoy an opening Mass celebrated by Sydney Archbishop Cardinal George Pell, concerts, festival events, catechesis sessions, Stations of the Cross, sleep outs, a meal cruise out of Darling Harbour, and a vigil with His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI. This will be the first papal visit to Australia.
“The experience of World Youth Day has been life-changing for so many young people all around the world,” said Tom Smith, coordinator of the diocesan Youth Ministry Apostolate. “Few experiences have the same power to change minds and hearts and show the reality of the universal Church in our day and age. This experience is a sign of hope and life in the Church.”
Danielle Douglas, a youth leader at St. Boniface parish, Elmont, N.Y. and a sophomore at Molloy College, Rockville Centre, N.Y., will be attending World Youth Day for the first time in 2008.
“I’m ready for it,” Douglas said. “Meeting the pope all the way in Australia—that’s just amazing.”
St. Boniface parish has registered 17 young adults and 15 parents. They started fundraising to cushion the $3,679 diocesan package price last February, according to Amy Sierra, youth minister at the parish.
Our Lady of Mercy parish, Hicksville, N.Y., started fundraising in April to send 12 pilgrims to what youth minister Nolan Reynolds called “a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
During the meal cruise, diocesan youth who could not make it to Australia will congregate for a talent showcase and a viewing of a live feed from Sydney.
Pope John Paul II started World Youth Day in 1986 in Rome. Sydney will host the 10th international World Youth Day.
The last World Youth Day in Cologne attracted 1.2 million people to the final Mass. Approximately 500,000 people are expected to attend at least one event in 2008, according to the World Youth Day Web site.
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About The Diocese of Rockville Centre
Celebrating its Golden Jubilee, the Diocese of Rockville Centre (www.drvc.org) was formed in 1957 and covers 1,198 square miles in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. The diocese serves approximately 1.4 million Catholics (total population in both counties is approximately 2.8 million). There are 134 parishes in 115 towns. Last year over 18,000 baptisms, 18,000 confirmations, 19,000 first communions and 4,000 marriages took place in the diocese. There are approximately 22,000 students in Catholic elementary schools; 13,000 in secondary schools and 3,300 in higher institutions. There are 69 Catholic elementary and high schools and one Catholic college in the diocese. There are also 120,189 total students in religious education. Catholic Health Services of Long Island consists of five hospitals, three nursing homes, a community-based home for those with special needs and a hospice. Last year, Catholic Charities assisted more than 59,000 individuals who are poor, vulnerable and disadvantaged on Long Island. (4/20/07)
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