a message of


February 08

a message of



“Not by power and might

but by your Spirit, Lord”

Zechariah 4:6


Dear friends,

I usually try to start a new year with renewed goals for

the year to come. I try to review the past year and set

new intentions. And usually, after a month, I realise that

those new goals are difficult to fulfil or that, for whatever

reason, I have failed to follow my resolutions. Perhaps

this is something that also happens to you. And you start

asking yourself: how am I supposed to do all of that?

With what strength am I going to persevere? Well, we

have to remind ourselves: “not by my power and might

but by your spirit Lord”. To become a better person, to

fulfil our goal of becoming holy, to live the life of Christ,

we need the Holy Spirit.

Every one that is baptised is called to be a saint, to be

conformed to Christ, a process through which we will be

able to think, feel and act like the Lord did. Saint Paul

explains it as becoming “the perfect man, fully mature

with the fullness of Christ himself” (Eph 4:13). This

interior transformation is the work of the Holy Spirit. He

is the One who can make us new again on the inside (Ps

50:10), and who transforms our hearts (Ezek 36:25-27).

He is the beginning of a new life and principle of holiness

for us. “He configures us to Christ Jesus and makes us

sharers in his life as Son” (Pastores Dabo Vobis 19, JPII).

By the Spirit, not through self-perfection, we can answer

to the vocation of being holy and immaculate in his

presence, in love (Eph 1:4).

To become

a better

person, to

fulfil our

goal of


holy, to

live the

life of


we need

the Holy



3 Faith Foundations

4 Pilgrim Prayer

5 Inspired Writings

6 Testimony of Faith

7 Saints and Witnesses

8 Place of Pilgrimage

9 To Reflect on

10 Towards WYD08


February 08

a message of


“Not by power and might

but by your Spirit, Lord”

Zechariah 4:6


To live a new life of holiness we must take seriously our

relationship with the Holy Spirit. Our Christian life cannot be

one of a passivity or indifference to the Spirit. We must work

to have an intense and active relationship with Him. This

is not possible unless we make an effort everyday to build

an interior universe, inspired and supported by the Spirit,

nourished by prayer and oriented to action.

To be spiritual men and women does not mean to become

an almost immaterial person, disconnected from this world,

avoiding a responsible commitment to humanity here and

now. Some spiritualities do repudiate this life, in this world.

But authentic Christian spiritual life leads us to take the

right actions and makes it possible for us to cooperate in the

transformation of the world around us with our words and


How do we learn to cooperate with the Holy Spirit? One good

place is to look at Mary and learn from her. As a matter of

fact, Mary is a great teacher and leader because her whole

life happens in the presence of the Spirit of God. Mary is the

one that attracts the Spirit of God. She brings us together

around her, in prayer, teaching us how to prepare our hearts

to receive the fire of the divine love that transforms us into

brave and audacious apostles of her Son.

To accomplish our mission, let us seek the intercession of

Mary for the power of the Spirit to give us the strength and

the apostolic dynamism necessary to be His witnesses.

BISHOP anthony fisher op,

wyd08 coordinator




life leads us

to take the

right actions

and makes

it possible

for us to


in the


of the world

around us with

our words and





February 08


Israel and the Church

The psalms of the Old Testament and the great Christian hymns

proclaim that God is “the mighty one of Israel” and that God is

“Almighty”. The psalms play with many images in order to convey

the immense creative power of the Lord God: “By the Lord’s word the

heavens were made; by the breath of his mouth all their host.” (Psalm

33:6) and his kingship over every living thing “as king forever” (Psalm


God’s might however is not

cold brute force - the arbitrary

exertion of power for power’s

sake. God’s creative will is

directed by wisdom, goodness

and concern for his creation. He

holds all things in being - and

directs creation and human

history through his Divine

Providence. God’s power is

intimately tied up with his Eternal


God does not force himself

upon his world still less upon us

his creatures who he made to

respond to him freely, knowingly

and lovingly.

However God’s power can also

be a very puzzling reality. For

we know that God has permitted

natural disasters, illness, wars

and evil deeds to occur. Even

saintly people like Job, St

Teresa of Avila and Bl. Teresa of

Calcutta struggled to have faith

in the face of God’s apparent

powerlessness or inaction

against evil.

God’s power is a paradox. Jesus

Christ is the Power of God - and

yet his “hour” is when he dies of

love on the Cross.

Only by loving us and the Father

in the face of evil and the

shadows of death could God’s

power truly be revealed. St Paul

acknowledged that this might

seem to be “foolishness”. But

“Christ (is) the power of God and

the wisdom of God. For God’s

foolishness is wiser than human

wisdom, and God’s weakness is

stronger than human strength.”

(1 Corinthians 1:24-25)

Paul explained that it is only

when we, through Christ,

reach out to God through our

weaknesses, in our inability

to control all things and be all

things, that we truly acknowledge

God to be Lord.

Paul feels totally and joyfully

dependent on Grace, not selfpitying,

life-denying or pathetic

when he says “so that the power

of Christ may dwell in me…for

whenever I am weak than I am

strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-

10) Like the Virgin Mary such

humility gives Paul and all the

saints the courage and strength

to say “for nothing is impossible

to God.” (Luke 1: 37)


“Not by power and might

but by your Spirit, Lord”

Zechariah 4:6




February 08

Prayer for Trust

by Saint Ignatius of Loyola

O Christ Jesus,


when all is darkness

and we feel our weakness and helplessness,

give us the sense of Your presence,

Your love, and Your strength.

Help us to have perfect trust

in Your protecting love

and strengthening power,

so that nothing may frighten or worry us,

for, living close to You,

we shall see Your hand,

Your purpose, Your will through all things. Amen


“Not by power and might

but by your Spirit, Lord”

Zechariah 4:6




“Not by power and might

but by your Spirit, Lord”

Zechariah 4:6

February 08


Excerpt from address of Pope Benedict XVI for the

Youth Vigil at WYD05, Cologne

Click here to access the excerpt

The new King, to whom they now paid homage, was quite unlike what they (the three Magi)

were expecting. In this way they had to learn that God is not as we usually imagine him

to be. This was where their inner journey began. It started at the very moment when they

knelt down before this child and recognised him as the promised King. But they still had to

assimilate these joyful gestures internally.

They had to change their ideas about power, about God and about man, and in so doing, they

also had to change themselves. Now they were able to see that God’s power is not like that of

the powerful of this world. God’s ways are not as we imagine them or as we might wish them

to be.

God does not enter into competition with earthly powers in this world. He does not marshal

his divisions alongside other divisions. God did not send 12 legions of angels to assist Jesus

in the Garden of Olives (cf. Mt 26: 53). He contrasts the noisy and ostentatious power of

this world with the defenceless power of love, which succumbs to death on the Cross and

dies ever anew throughout history; yet it is this same love which constitutes the new divine

intervention that opposes injustice and ushers in the Kingdom of God.

God is different - this is what they now come to realise. And it means that they themselves

must now become different, they must learn God’s ways.

They had come to place themselves at the service of this King, to model their own kingship

on his. That was the meaning of their act of homage, their adoration. Included in this were

their gifts - gold, frankincense and myrrh - gifts offered to a King held to be divine. Adoration

has a content and it involves giving. Through this act of adoration, these men from the East

wished to recognise the child as their King and to place their own power and potential at his

disposal, and in this they were certainly on the right path.

By serving and following him, they wanted, together with him, to serve the cause of good and

the cause of justice in the world. In this they were right.

Now, though, they have to learn that this cannot be achieved simply through issuing

commands from a throne on high. Now they have to learn to give themselves - no lesser gift

would be sufficient for this King. Now they have to learn that their lives must be conformed to

this divine way of exercising power, to God’s own way of being.

They must become men of truth, of justice, of goodness, of forgiveness, of mercy. They will

no longer ask: how can this serve me? Instead, they will have to ask: How can I serve God’s

presence in the world? They must learn to lose their life and in this way to find it. Having left

Jerusalem behind, they must not deviate from the path marked out by the true King, as they

follow Jesus.


February 08

testimony of



“Not by power and might

but by your Spirit, Lord”

Zechariah 4:6


Rickie - Diocese of Armidale

In the Year 2000, the year of the Great Jubilee,

I had the privilege and honour of being part of the

WYD event in Rome, the Eternal City. At the time

I was a year 5 teacher and the Religious Education

Coordinator at St. Francis Xaviers’ Primary School,

Narrabri, in the Diocese of Armidale in northern

New South Wales. I grew up in this rural Diocese

and my faith was nurtured in a small country parish

in Bingara, a town with a population of 1800.

We set out early on that final Saturday and had

been warned that the temperature was going to be

about 38 – 40 degrees and we would have to walk

about 13km. In fact we walked about 20 km and

the temperature was between 42 and 45 degrees.

It was a very long, hot and tiring walk. The local

townsfolk encouraged and supported us along the

way by spraying us with hoses and giving us water,

simple acts of charity. As I looked around I saw

literally hundreds of other young people with flags

from all over the world walking in the one direction

to the same place - there was unity. Bagpipes,

trumpets and drums were being played, songs,

prayers, chants and hymns being sung in a variety

of languages. I remember thinking of Pentecost

and the presence of the Holy Spirit. It was truly

an experience of the universality of the Churchdifferent

languages and cultures but united in Spirit

and purpose.

Due to the large crowds I became separated three

times from the other Australians I was walking

with, and while I became a little anxious I found

myself praying to God to guide me on my way, to

help me through the journey and to help me find the

others. I found I could do nothing else except keep

walking and to trust. Each time I found the others.

Finally the journey came to an end; we found a

space amongst the crowd to sleep for the night

under the stars after a wonderful prayer vigil with

Pope John Paul II.

The next day we celebrated the Papal Mass to

conclude WYD 2000. There were over 2 million

people at the Mass - this brought home to me the

I came home strengthened

in my faith, re-assured

that it is OK to be

Catholic, to have faith.

Universal Church. It truly was a celebration of the

Eucharist, a celebration of the Mystical Body of

Christ. I became aware of the faith and reverence

of those around me, and during the moment of

consecration there was this amazing stillness and

silence. It was an awe-inspiring moment, truly a

religious experience in the presence of God.

Coming from my hometown parish in which I, at the

age of 34, was one of the youngest regular Mass

attendees, my WYD experience helped me realise

that I am not alone, strange or out of touch with the

world, that there are many others like me across

the world who believe in Jesus and who share in my

experience of faith.

I came home strengthened in my faith, re-assured

that it is OK to be Catholic, to have faith. It is

something to be proud of, to live as believers and

followers of Christ, to proclaim Christ not so much

in my words but in my actions and way of life. To

witness to Christ who dwells within.



saints and


February 08


St Clare of Assisi

Born: in Assisi, Italy about 1193

Died: in Assisi 1253

Feast Day: 11th August

Patron Saint of: embroiderers, telephones,


Representation in Religious Art: Nun dressed

in brown habit and white veil-sometimes

carrying a monstrance (sacred vessel for

venerating the Eucharist) or pyx

Chiara Offreduccio (Clare)

was the daughter of a noble

family of Assisi. Her parents

had mapped out her life by

intending that she marry a

decent boy of another noble

and successful family.

Clare’s life was transformed

by an encounter with St

Francis of Assisi preaching

in the street. She was

swept away by his radical

understanding of Christlike

poverty, simplicity and


In 1212, on Palm Sunday,

Clare ran away from home

to the then tiny Church of

St Mary of the Angels at

Portiuncula, where Francis

lived with his first community.

Before the altar of the Virgin

Mary, Clare stripped off her

rich garments and Francis cut

off her hair and clothed her in

rough sackcloth.

At first she lived with the local

Benedictine nuns - while

she resisted her family’s

attempts to force her back to

“her senses” and to marry.

She declared that she had

been called to give her life

and love in direct service to

Jesus Christ – that he was her


A short time later, St Francis

established a convent for

Clare near the Church of San

Damiano in the outskirts of

Assisi. She was quickly joined

by her sister Agnes (who

was only 14) and later by her

mother who also had to fight

social pressure to join Clare.

In a remarkably short time,

Clare found she had started a

grass-fire of followers among

the women of Italy, France,

Bohemia and Germany.

She devised a life for the Poor

Ladies of San Damiano (today

called The Poor Clares) which

consisted of voluntary silence,

prayer, service to the sick,

enclosure and mendicant

poverty i.e. owning nothing

but what is begged for from

others. She was made abbess

in 1215.

Clare was given a mystical

power to hear the celebration

of Mass from afar, hence

her connection with modern

communication. On one

occasion, holding the

Sacrament of the Eucharist

before her, she drove away

a fierce army of mercenary

soldiers - Saracens fighting

for a plundering Emperor -

saving her convent and Assisi

itself from attack.

She directed her order

of nuns for forty years in

gentle service dying at the

age of 60 after a long and

painful illness. She was very

quickly canonised a saint and

feminine complement to St

Francis in 1255.


place of


February 08


Assisi - Region of Umbria, Italy

The hill town of Assisi is a pilgrimage site long

and deeply revered by Christians and by people

in search of spiritual encounter. UNESCO in

listing Assisi as a World Heritage site describes

its breathtaking beauty as capturing both “human

creative genius” and the spirit of St Francis and St


St Francis was born in Assisi and has marked the

entire town with his example and vision. The most

striking feature on approaching the town is the

massive arched colonnade of the great Convent

and Basilica of San Francesco.

The building of the Basilica was the result of

the massive outpouring of love for St Francis.

Designed to be an enormous Church-shrine for his

body, it was begun a few days after his canonisation

in 1228, funded by a multitude of donations from

around the Christian world. The basilica consists

of two massive churches from which

branch many chapels - both built on

top of each other. These are called

the Upper and Lower Churches.

Both Churches are among the

most perfect examples of Italian

Gothic architecture and the interior

surfaces are covered in frescoes

depicting in detail the life of Francis

by some of the finest artists of early

Italian painting: Giotto, Cimabue

and Lorenzetti. In the crypt of the

Basilica is the simple tomb of St

Francis. The Basilica today is being

partly restored after a devastating

earthquake hit Assisi in 1997.

The New Church or Chiesa Nuova

was completed in 1615 by the King

of Spain on the site of Francis’

family (the Bernardones) home. The

Church preserves relics and rooms

associated with his life.

The Cathedral of San Rufino

venerates Assisi’s early martyr

Bishop Rufino (d. 236 AD) and marks

the church and Baptismal Font in

which both Sts Francis and Clare

were baptised.

The Basilica of Santa Chiara (Saint

Clare) was built in 1260 a short time

after St Clare’s death in a distinctively

banded pale white and pink stone.

The Basilica was built over the place

of The Church of San Giorgio in

which both Clare and Francis were

originally buried. The Basilica

houses the shrine and body of Clare

(which was re-discovered here

remarkably incorrupt in 1850). Once

again the paintings depicting her life

are by great artists, and the chapels

capture important aspects of the life

of the Poor Clares. The chapel of St

Agnes of Assisi contains the body of

Clare’s sister.


February 08




“Not by power and might

but by your Spirit, Lord”

Zechariah 4:6



On 20 July, Pope Benedict XVI delivered a message to the

young people of the World on WYD08. The Pope expressed,

“In this message I gladly offer you an outline for meditation

that you can explore during this year of preparation.”

Take some time to reflect on these words, to meditate and

respond to the invitation of the Pope to explore the theme of


Excerpt from the Message of the Holy Father Benedict XVI

to the young people of the world on the occasion of the XXIII

World Youth Day, 2008, dated 20 July 2007

My dear young friends!

5. The Holy Spirit as “Teacher of the interior life”

My dear young friends, the Holy Spirit continues today to act with

power in the Church, and the fruits of the Spirit are abundant in

the measure in which we are ready to open up to this power that

makes all things new. For this reason it is important that each one

of us know the Spirit, establish a relationship with Him and allow

ourselves to be guided by Him. However, at this point a question

naturally arises: who is the Holy Spirit for me? It is a fact that for

many Christians He is still the “great unknown”. This is why, as

we prepare for the next World Youth Day, I wanted to invite you

to come to know the Holy Spirit more deeply at a personal level.

In our profession of faith we proclaim: “I believe in the Holy Spirit,

the Lord and giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the

Son” (Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed). Yes, the Holy Spirit, the

Spirit of the love of the Father and of the Son, is the Source of life

that makes us holy, “because God’s love has been poured into

our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us”

(Rom 5:5). Nevertheless, it is not enough to know the Spirit; we

must welcome Him as the guide of our souls, as the “Teacher of

the interior life” who introduces us to the Mystery of the Trinity,

because He alone can open us up to faith and allow us to live it

each day to the full. The Spirit impels us forward towards others,

enkindles in us the fire of love, makes us missionaries of God’s


I know very well that you young people hold in your hearts great

appreciation and love for Jesus, and that you desire to meet

Him and speak with Him. Indeed, remember that it is precisely

the presence of the Spirit within us that confirms, constitutes

and builds our person on the very Person of Jesus crucified and

risen. So let us become familiar with the Holy Spirit in order to be

familiar with Jesus.

For this reason

it is important

that each one

of us know

the Spirit,

establish a


with Him and

allow ourselves

to be guided by

Him. However,

at this point

a question


arises: who is

the Holy Spirit

for me? It is

a fact that for

many Christians

He is still

the “great

unknown”. This

is why, as we

prepare for

the next World

Youth Day,

I wanted to

invite you to

come to know

the Holy Spirit

more deeply

at a personal


February 08




“Not by power and might

but by your Spirit, Lord”

Zechariah 4:6



Enter in your

details on


system - Egeria

The first 50,000 pilgrims

have put their individual

details into Egeria. This

is the very important

second step of registration

and it is very exciting to

see the detailed planning

approaching the final run to


You will recall from previous

editions that individual

registrations tell us more

you. Apart from your name,

contact details and travel

arrangements it allows you

to be kept informed at the

personal level of all the

developments of the journey

towards July 2008. Once you

enter your details in, you’ll

get monthly newsletters

from us giving you valuable

practical information.

Registering individual

details can be done in one

of two ways. Firstly you

can provide the information

to your group leader and

they can register on your

behalf. Alternatively you

can ask your group leader

for the group number and

you can register yourself as

a member of that group. It

is up to the group to decide

which way best suits their


But whatever way you

decide, it’s extremely

important for you complete

the individual registrations

as soon as possible.

Groups that have their

individuals registered will

receive a preference in

allocating space to the

major events including

Opening Mass, Papal

Welcome, Stations of the

Cross and the Final Mass.

This allocation process

has already started and

will continue over the next

couple of months. Please

don’t miss out on this

opportunity of receiving

preferential allocation.

An additional preference

will be given to groups who

have paid their registration

fee. This can also be done

through Egeria. Additional

payment facilities for

Australians (direct debit and

BPAY) will be available in

the next few weeks. Other

international methods will

also be available soon.


International pilgrims are

able to apply for visas prior

to paying for their packages.

To apply for your visa, you

need to complete your

individual details – including

your passport information

and nationality. This will

be passed directly to the

Australian Immigration

department for processing.

In some cases an

endorsement by your Bishop

is required by the Australian

authorities. Any concerns

in this regard should be

emailed to our registration

centre: gle@wyd2008.org.

The first 5,000 visas have

already been issued with

only one rejection to date,

because the person did not

have a passport. So far –

smooth sailing!

See you in Sydney

in 5 months!!


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