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Two Hundred Archdiocesan Catholics Also Traveling to Sydney, Australia

CHICAGO, IL (July 11, 2008) – Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., Archbishop of Chicago, will be in Sydney, Australia from Tuesday, July 15 through Sunday, July 20, for World Youth Day 2008. This will be the fifth international World Youth Day Cardinal George has attended since being appointed Archbishop of Chicago’s 2.3 million Catholics in 1997.

“I look forward to being with the pilgrims from Chicago and young people from around the world in Sydney. It is always moving for young people to experience the universality of the Church gathered around our Holy Father,” remarked Cardinal George, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

The Cardinal will preside at and deliver the homily during a USCCB-sponsored Mass on Saturday, July 19, for the Americans making the pilgrimage to Sydney. Concelebrating this outdoor Mass will be many of the 50 U.S. bishops who will also be in Australia. On July 16, 17 and 18, the Cardinal will also lead English-language catechetical sessions and celebrate Mass before participating in a special closing Mass, celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI, on Sunday, July 20.

Also making the trip from the Archdiocese will be Most Rev. John Manz, auxiliary bishop of Chicago for Vicariate III, as well as two-hundred Archdiocesan youth and chaperones representing: St. Germaine Parish in southwest suburban Oak Lawn; St. Emily Parish in northwest suburban Mt. Prospect; Holy Family Parish in northwest suburban Inverness; and St. Mary Parish in northwest suburban Buffalo Grove. Cardinal George recently blessed and sent forth nearly 100 from this group during a special outdoor Mass at St. John of the Cross Parish in west-suburban Western Springs.

Before departing Chicago, the Cardinal also recorded a special message that will be played to the Chicagoans who were unable to make the trip to Sydney, and will instead attend World Youth Day 2008 Chicago Style at St. Hyacinth Basilica on July 19, a local event meant to mirror the Australian celebration.

Pope John Paul II established World Youth Day in 1985, and the first international World Youth Day took Place in 1987 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Subsequent international editions have been held in: Santiago de Compostela, Spain (August 1989); Czestochowa, Poland (August 1991); Denver, CO (August 1993); Manila, Philippines (January 1995); Paris, France (August 1997); Rome, Italy (August 2000); Toronto, Canada (July 2002); and Cologne, Germany (August 2005).

World Youth Day 2008 organizers are expecting a total of 225,000 attendees in Sydney of which 100,000 will be Australians, 15,000 Americans and 12,000 Canadians. Recent World Youth Days witnessed 25,000 American pilgrims celebrating in Cologne, 57,000 in Toronto and 20,000 in Rome.

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