World Youth Day 2008 Blog

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About our Bloggers: Katie Berger

Katie BergerHello!

I was a youth minister in the archdiocese for three years, graduated from St. Meinrad School of Theology last year and now reside in Pueblo, Colorado. I'm going to be sending back photos and updates "live" from our archdiocesan pilgrimage to Australia.

I've done the blog for three Archdiocesan Hurricane Relief trips to Biloxi, Miss. and New Orleans. This is my second trip to World Youth Day, having attended World Youth Day 2005 in Cologne, Germany.

I'm really looking forward to a return trip to World Youth Day! I can't wait for another chance to be on pilgrimage with young people from around the world and with the Holy Father.  It really is an incredible experience. I also look forward to keeping all our Indianapolis participants' families and friends up-to-date each day with pictures and stories from the trip.

Questions or comments? You can reach me at

Posted by Katie Berger at 1:06 p.m. on Monday, June 16, 2008


About our Bloggers: Brandon A. Evans

Brandon A. EvansWelcome to our blog!

I currently serve the Archdiocese of Indianapolis as its website manager, and also serve as the online editor of The Criterion. I've served in those positions for two and half years, and prior to that, was a reporter and photographer for the newspaper for about five years.

I'll be doing most of the posting to this blog during the run-up to World Youth Day, and during the weeklong event I will be helping Katie post all the pictures and updates that she'll be sending back to the states.

Our Criterion website have never gotten more traffic than it did during World Youth Day 2005, when I was on the archdiocesan pilgrimage and running a blog similar to this one. It was a lot of work, but it was also great fun to be able to share the experience with so many people.

We all wish Katie the best as she prepares to join our archdiocesan youth in a journey to the other side of the world -- and wish them safe travel when they embark.

Questions or comments? You can reach me at

Posted by Brandon A. Evans at 11:56 a.m. on Monday, June 16, 2008


Facts about WYD 2008

WYD Cross arriving in AustraliaSome facts taken from

  • World Youth Day was established by Pope John Paul II in 1986 as an annual event to reach out to the youth of the world
  • World Youth Day is a pilgrimage of faith, where young people from diverse backgrounds meet and experience the love of God. 
  • World Youth Day is now the largest youth event in the world 
  • The week culminates in a Final Mass celebrated by the Pope on the last day (the actual World Youth Day). Typically, it is the largest event of the week and, overseas, has drawn millions of people. 
  • The last WYD in Cologne featured:
    • 435,000 registered pilgrims from 197 nations
    • 23,000 volunteers from 120 nations
    • 8,000 accredited media
    • 800 Cardinals and Bishops
  • WYD08 will be the largest event Australia has hosted. It will attract over 125,000 international visitors – more than the 2000 Olympics
  • An estimated 2,000 clergy will be present
  • An estimated 500 Cardinals and Bishops will be present 
  • Around 3,000 media are expected to cover the event
  • 3.5 million meals will be served to pilgrims 
  • Up to 500,000 people are expected to attend the Final Mass at Randwick Racecourse and Centennial Park (which is open to all)
  • 1 million communion hosts to be made
  • 120 bottles of wine (total) for the Opening Mass and Final Mass

Want more? Download all the facts in this PDF file from the official World Youth Day site.

Aso, learn more about the World Youth Day cross and icon.

Posted by Brandon A. Evans at 2:11 p.m. on Monday, June 16, 2008


Pilgrimage Itinerary

Want to know what our youth will be doing on their pilgrimage?

Check out the full itinerary and flight information

Posted by Brandon A. Evans at 2:28 p.m. on Monday, June 16, 2008

World Youth Day Patron Saints

These ten saints are the patrons for WYD 2008. Click on each saint to see a larger version:

Patron Saints

Posted by Brandon A. Evans at 2:31 p.m. on Monday, June 16, 2008

About the Logo

From the World Youth Day 2008 website:

World Youth Day 2008 LogoThe logo distils the essence of the theme for WYD08 and highlights the promise made by Jesus to set fire upon the Earth by the power of the Holy Spirit which inspires the pilgrims who come to Australia, to believe and witness to Him.

Central to the logo is the Cross raised in victory, representing Christ and the life of witness which the Holy Spirit enables. It is the passion of the heart of Christ, poured out into the world from the Cross, which consumes the young people of Sydney, of Australia and of the world. The whiteness of the Cross indicates that Jesus is the light of the world.

The flames of the logo represent the Descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost in tongues of fire. They evoke the Sacrament of Confirmation and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The colours of red, orange and yellow flowing throughout symbolise the Trinity and Unity of God. They also bring to mind the colours of the Australian outback.

The blue of the logo represents the oceans that surround Australia, the waters of Baptism, the sea of humanity and Mary, full of grace.

The Opera House is the symbol of Sydney, the host city for WYD08.

Posted by Brandon A. Evans at 10:04 a.m. on Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Send your prayers with our group!

As a way to include you spiritually with our group from Indianapolis, we would like to take along any prayer requests you have as we journey to Australia to pray, learn, and have fun with the Holy Father and thousands of young people from around the world .

This is often done when a person goes on a spiritual journey or pilgrimage. Your prayers will be included with the hundreds of other prayer requests the group has already collected.

Please email me at by July 9 to include your petitions in our trip's prayer log.

Posted by Katie Berger at 4:27 p.m. on Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Don't forget your trinkets...

From the Catholic News Service blog, Nancy Wiechec writes about the practice of World Youth Day pilgrims trading trinkets -- and links to a news story about it from 1993:

A hand-made trinket you might find in Sydney. (CNS/Nancy Wiechec)Heading out to World Youth Day? Don’t forget to pack some small flags, pins, stickers, bracelets, pens, key chains, rosaries, prayer cards … really, anything that says something about you or where you come from.

Covering several World Youth Days over the years (my first was in 1993 in Denver), I’ve been amazed by the type and amount of items young people have collected from other pilgrims. Trading trinkets is a WYD tradition and a good way to meet and greet people, especially if you’re shy or you don’t speak another’s language.

So gather up some trinkets to take on the road to Sydney. You’ll end up with a surprising collection of remembrances from your Australian adventure.

[PHOTO: A hand-made trinket you might find in Sydney. (CNS/Nancy Wiechec)]

Posted by Brandon A. Evans at 9:14 a.m. on Monday, June 30, 2008

Novena for our Pilgrims

From Father Jonathan Meyer (archdiocesan director of youth ministry and leader of the upcoming pilgrimage):

Please pray for the 90 youth from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis who will be departing for Australia for World Youth Day on July 9th.

May the Lord bless them and protect them and fill their hearts with love and zeal!

Father Meyer also sent along the text of a prayer to use, beginning tomorrow, in a novena for our pilgrims. Here is the text:

WYD08 Pilgrim Novena Prayer: July 1-9
Archdiocese of Indianapolis

Most loving Father,
we thank You for the example of
St. Theodora and Blessed Mary MacKillop,
who in their living of the Gospel witnessed
to the human dignity of each person.
They faced life's challenges with faith and courage.

We pray through their intercession for our needs...
(mention private intentions here)

In a particular way we ask for safe travel
for ourselves and for all those traveling to Australia
for the International World Youth Day.

May the many young people, from every land and nation,
give you praise as they gather for prayer and celebration.
May everything be done for Your praise and glory.

We make this prayer through Jesus the Lord.


Posted by Brandon A. Evans at 2:23 p.m. on Monday, June 30, 2008

Pope Ask for Prayers; Offers Indulgences

From Catholic News Service:

Pope Benedict XVI asked Catholics around the world to pray for the young people who will gather with him in Sydney, Australia, for the celebration of World Youth Day.

To help encourage the prayers of all, the Vatican announced July 5 that the pope had authorized a special indulgence for anyone who, "with a contrite spirit," raises a "prayer to God, the Holy Spirit, so that young people are drawn to charity and given the strength to proclaim the Gospel with their life," a Vatican decree said.

Pope Benedict spoke about his July 12-21 trip to Australia when he met visitors at his summer villa south of Rome for the July 6 recitation of the Angelus. World Youth Day runs July 15-20 in Sydney.

Australian young people, he said, had been preparing for the event with a prayerful pilgrimage of the World Youth Day cross, "a silent witness of the covenant pact between the Lord Jesus Christ and the new generations."

"The first groups of young men and women already are departing from other continents, headed for Australia," he said.

Read the whole story here

Posted by Brandon A. Evans at 8:47 a.m. on Monday, July 8, 2008



St Christopher's Roman Catholic church at Panania, AustraliaFather Meyer sends along a link to a blog that, apparently, features the some pictures of the church where our youth will be staying while in Australia (see picture on the right; click for a larger version).

From the blog: "St Christopher's Roman Catholic church at Panania used to be an art deco (1930s) cinema, The Panania Star...It's one of the oldest buildings in this quiet Sydney suburb."

Meanwhile, today is the day that our pilgrims leave for the other side of the world! I'm sure they will appreciate the continued prayers, and as soon as Katie sends back some photos or updates, I'll post it!

Go see the whole blog post about St. Christopher's Church in Panania

Posted by Brandon A. Evans at 11:05 a.m. on Wednesday, July 9, 2008


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