Pope thanks pilgrims for their faith
POPE Benedict XVI warmed the hearts of over 200,000 Catholic pilgrims camping under the stars at a chilly Randwick racecourse Saturday when he thanked God for the "great gift" of their faith.
Attending an evening vigil on the eve of his papal mass for an expected 500,000 people, Benedict XVI urged young people to hear the "concordant voice of humanity" through the dissonance and division of their world.
"From the forlorn child in a Darfur camp, or a troubled teenager, or an anxious parent in any suburb, or perhaps even now from the depth of your own heart, there emerges the same human cry for recognition, for belonging, for unity," he said.
"Who satisfies that essential human yearning to be one, to be immersed in communion, to be built up, to be led to truth?
"The holy spirit," he told pilgrims who were given candles, water, snacks and waterproof ponchos as they swarmed around a huge stage whose massive TVs gave the occasion a rock concert atmosphere.
"Tonight, gathered under the beauty of the night sky, our hearts and minds are filled with gratitude to God for the great gift of our Trinitarian faith," he said.
The 81-year-old pontiff ended his address with a comment of special significance for the Sisters of St Joseph praying for Blessed Mary MacKillop to become Australia”s first saint.
"I echo to you the words spoken by Blessed Mary MacKillop when she was just 26 years old," he said.
"”Believe in the whisperings of God to your heart.”"
Picture: Lebanese pilgrims marching through Sydney for The World Youth Day celebrations headed by Pope Benedict XVI (AFP/ Krystle Wright)