Wed, 12th July 2006
“Two Years To Go”
World Youth Day 2008 starts national youth preparation programme
The World Youth Day Sydney 2008 organisers mark the “two years to go” milestone on July 15 for the world’s largest youth event to be held in Australia, with the launch this week of Activ8, its national pastoral preparation and education programme.
World Youth Day 2008 (WYD08) Coordinator Bishop Anthony Fisher OP recently unveiled Activ8, a programme of events, activities and materials developed by WYD08 to prepare young people across Australia for World Youth Day in Sydney in 2008.
World Youth Day – to be staged between July 15 and 20, 2008 – is expected to attract half a million participants, mainly from around Australia but including well over 100,000 international visitors. His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI will make his first visit to Australia for World Youth Day 2008, presiding over the Final Mass.
Activ8 is intended to inform and engage Catholic youth around the country, encouraging them to be a part of WYD08. It will be delivered through a number of different elements including an online ePILGRIMAGE, a promotional DVD, Parish support programmes, school curriculum materials, youth leadership courses and events and activities at key milestones up to July 2008.
The name‘ Activ8’ refers to the scriptural reference chosen by Pope Benedict XVI for the World Youth 2008 theme – Acts 1: v8 “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses” as well as a call to action in the word “activate”.
“World Youth Day is an extraordinary gift to the Church in Australia. We are going to fulfil the promise of this gift by ensuring over the next two years our young people are given every opportunity to prepare and be engaged with their religion through our parishes, youth groups, schools and homes,” Bishop Fisher said.
He said a priority in the planning and preparation for World Youth Day in Sydney was the delivery of a broad and engaging programme of communication, education and participation to ensure Catholic youth from all over Australia were invited and able to participate.
The first ACTiv8 materials are being distributed around the country this week in the form of an introductory booklet and the promotional DVD titled “get with the spirit” issued to parishes, schools and available online.
The DVD provides an introduction to World Youth Day for Australians, showing its history, its elements and its impact on the lives of young people. It features interviews and testimonies from young people who have participated in previous World Youth Days.
It is available from the WYD08 Diocesan and Youth Ministry representative in each Diocese to show in parishes, to youth groups, at conferences and in classrooms where it can enhance the WYD08 curriculum modules also being distributed nationally.
Activ8 includes a package of school curriculum materials for Australian schools and parishes to be used by teachers and catechists, but also appropriate for priests and parents. There is one module for each of the 5 semesters starting this month, July 2006, through to December 2008. The school curriculum materials have been developed by a WYD08 working committee made up of representatives from the Catholic Education Office, teachers and catechists and other Catholic agencies. The WYD08 Education Committee has endorsed the materials and will be responsible for their deployment.
The modules are targeted to senior primary and secondary school students and will be progressively made available on the WYD08 website at www.wyd2008.org. They will cover the World Youth Day themes from this year ‘Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path’, for 2007 ‘Just as I have loved you, you should love one another’ and for 2008 ‘You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses.’
For young people after school age a series of catechetical materials will be provided to parishes to assist youth group leaders, priests and teachers to present the WYD08 themes and a more advanced range of approaches to faith covering areas like scripture, theology, spirituality, sociology, morality and social justice as examples. These will be available again through the website from January 2007.
The WYD08 office is also offering a Youth Leaders Formation Course as part of Activ8. The live-in course from March 1 to May 31, 2007 will prepare young people desiring to serve the church, particularly in relation to WYD08.
By next year the Activ8 programme will include the Australia-wide tour of the World Youth Day Cross and Icon of our Lady, bringing celebrations and activities to parish communities. The programme will help each diocese in Australia prepare activities to receive the Cross and Icon as they tour during the lead-up to World Youth Day celebrations in July 2008.
The WYD08 office is making sure that dioceses can have a taste of World Youth Day through the Activ8 National Tours, taking a programme of international guest speakers and musical concerts and exhibitions on the road to increase awareness and interest in the celebrations. Bishop James Wingle will tour later this year and Father Stan Fortuna FFR has been confirmed for a concert tour in 2007.
The dioceses will also be called on to celebrate the one year pre-anniversary of WYD08 in July 2007 as part of this campaign as well as Palm Sunday in 2007 and 2008.
The World Youth Day 2008 programme in Sydney from July 15 to 20 will include an Opening Mass, a Youth Festival with exhibitions and performances, a Papal welcome ceremony, Catechesis sessions led by Bishops from around the world, the Way of the Cross, a Pilgrims walk and overnight prayer Vigil, and the Final Mass celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI.
Young people of all ages and from anywhere in the world can be a part of Activ8 now and prepare for WYD08 by joining the ePILGRIMAGE, a new World Youth Day initiative providing monthly online contact in the form of both spiritual and catechetical information as well as practical information for pilgrims to plan their journey to World Youth Day 2008.
Details about the Activ8 programmes for Australian parishes and schools and registration for the ePILGRIMAGE are available on the website at www.wyd2008.org