The most significant event to occur in the Catholic Church in Australia in 2008 is WYD08. Many comparisons have been made with the Olympic Games in Sydney in 2000, but the comparisons are of limited value, because there are just as many differences. As I have previously observed, the two earlier occasions that saw Australia hosting many Catholic visitors from overseas were the International Eucharistic Congresses in Sydney in 1928 and in Melbourne in 1973, but WYD08 will be much bigger than those events as well. So we simply must conclude that WYD08 will be an event that will be like no other for the Church in Australia.
In the preparations for WYD08, the universal, that is, the catholic nature of the church has been shown again and again. The visit to our parish of the WYD Cross and Icon on 2nd April also showed the universality of the church. Besides our own parishioners, there were also representatives of the Croatian, Slovene and Polish communities. There are many nationalities represented at the ordinary level of parish events and yet we all belong to one church as we all belong to the one Christ. The visit of the Cross and Icon was a memorable one for everyone who was here on the day.
One other aspect concerning WYD08 that I would note is that the church seems to be in the daily news every day of every week this year. Some of it is expressed in a somewhat negative manner, about cost and inconvenience, but in the living of our faith, we can easily see through these negative aspects, to the real sense of the good that comes from a well-lived, faith-filled life. If we are in the news every day, then it is good to be noticed. We just need to be sure that the people can see that we are positive about our life because we belong to the Church, because we belong to Christ.
Fr Mark O’Keefe PP
5 July 2008