Thursday, July 17, 2008

Jubilant crowds of half million pilgrims greet Pope Benedict

Sydney, Jul 17, 2008 / 07:00 am (CNA).- In the midst of jubilant crowds, the Papal “Boat-a-cade” arrived at Barangaroo this afternoon, after sailing around Sydney Harbour, where the Pope waved to tens of thousands people who had lined the foreshore to catch a glimpse of the Pontiff's arrival.

“His Holiness stood waving in full-view of the crowd on board the vessel,” said WYD08 spokesman Father Mark Podesta. The Papal Boat carried approximately 530 people including 168 international pilgrims.

After thanking the indigenous people of Australia for their warm welcome to the country, the Holy Father addressed the international and local pilgrims at the site, who had waited hours for his arrival.

“Standing before me I see a vibrant image of the Universal Church. The variety of nations and cultures from which you hail shows that indeed Christ’s Good News is for everyone; it has reached the ends of the earth.”

“Yet I know too that a good number of you are still seeking a spiritual homeland… To you I wish to offer encouragement: step forward into Christ’s loving embrace; recognize the Church as your home.”

The Pope also evoked images of the early Church and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles in the upper room as part of the theme of WYD08 “Receive the Power.” (Continued here)

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