Thursday’s WYD summary

Here are today’s highlights over at the CNS World Youth Day blog and on the CNS homepage for WYD stories:

A cruise ship carrying Pope Benedict XVI and World Youth Day pilgrims makes its way through Sydney Harbor July 17 in Sydney. (CNS/courtesy of World Youth Day 2008)

A cruise ship carrying Pope Benedict XVI and World Youth Day pilgrims makes its way through Sydney Harbor July 17. (CNS/courtesy of World Youth Day 2008)

— Today, of course, Pope Benedict finally arrived at World Youth Day after his three days of rest outside Sydney. We had two stories this morning, one on the formal welcoming at Sydney’s Government House, and the second on the far-more-boisterous boat ride through Sydney Harbor and landing at the old dockyard at Barangaroo.

— But our bloggers also had stories to tell about the arrival. One told of unexpectedly seeing the pope up close, a second wrote about greeting the pope and riding next to him on the boat, and a third wrote about his good fortune in his role at the WYD welcoming.

— And if you’ve been wondering about the role that the Australian Aborigines have been playing at WYD, Dan McAloon has a great story giving us many details about Aboriginal customs on display in Sydney.

— Meanwhile, we’ve updated the “Sydney Excitement” photo slideshow with new images from World Youth Day events.

Events for tomorrow for the pope (his day actually starts in just a few minutes because of the time difference) include the traditional WYD Stations of the Cross, preceeded by a lunch with several lucky youths.

From Sydney, a great new book on the Mass

The Catholic Weekly in Sydney, Australia, has published a beautiful new commentary on the Mass.

“This Is the Mass,” by the liturgy office of the Archdiocese of Sydney, is worth the $40 (US$39) price for the photographs alone. It was shot during a Mass celebrated by Sydney Cardinal George Pell in the archdiocesan St. Mary’s Cathedral.

The 160-page coffee-table book gives a commentary on nearly every detail of the Mass, from the entrance procession to the recessional, and gives biblical and historical context to liturgical rites as simple as kissing the altar. The captions are quotes from the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, and pullout quotes are from St. Augustine. As I read, it struck me that this would make a very nice gift, especially for someone new to the church.

At the end of the book, commentary by The Catholic Weekly managing editor Kerry Myers complements stunning shots of Sydney, host of World Youth Day.

The book is available for ordering at’THIS IS THE MASS’ BOOK.

‘Citizen journalism’ at World Youth Day

“Citizen journalism” is a new buzzword in the newspaper industry — and one many professional journalists are not too fond of — as the mainstream media struggle to find new methods to engage readers in the Internet age.

But it occured to me this morning that we have an interesting form of citizen journalism going on at World Youth Day. Within one hour earlier today over on the CNS World Youth Day blog, three of our bloggers had interesting up-close-and-personal reports on the arrival of Pope Benedict in Sydney Harbor — and all three had photos to share of the pope too.

First, Anna Weaver from the Hawaii Catholic Herald told her story about how she thought that her group would be too far away from the pope to get a good look at him, but then discovered that he would pass right by their spot. “This is far from an impartial journalist’s take on the papal arrival, but I am both a pilgrim and a reporter on this trip, and the pilgrim’s fever has a hold of me right now,” she wrote.

Only a minute or so later, Kris Dmytrenko of Salt + Light Television in Canada posted his own account of being on the papal boat in the harbor and speaking personally with the pope about, among other things, the International Eucharistic Congress last month in Quebec. He later stood next to Pope Benedict during the ride. “I’ll never forget his warmth and attention as he waved to pilgrims along the shores, his papal ring glimmered mere inches from my nose,” Kris wrote.

And then within the hour, Chris Valka, CSB, the Basilian seminarian who has been in Sydney for four months as a volunteer for the WYD organizing team, posted his own blog item (it’s a “must read”) on unexpectedly becoming master of ceremonies for the papal boat’s voyage through Sydney Harbor. “Did this just really happen???” is the way he fittingly headlined his post. “Even the Holy Father exclaimed “wow” as the boat rounded the coves filled to with thousands of people along the shoreline,” Chris recounted.

When we set out to find bloggers for our special WYD site, we specified that they had to be good writers, and all the ones we recruited have been top notch. Not bad for our first stab at citizen journalism.

Also blogging from WYD

Bill Howard, editor of the Colorado Catholic Herald in Colorado Springs, is in Sydney blogging away and writing news stories (like this) on World Youth Day. (We missed him in our previous posts here and here about Catholic press coverage and blogs on WYD.)

It’s quite the robust blog, with plenty of entries on activities of the Colorado Springs delegation to WYD. Bill notes that what makes the site a tad unique is that the group stopped in Seoul, South Korea, on its way to Sydney, so there are entries about that too (like this one on Korean Catholicism). Another unique thing I found on the blog is this item containing audio links on this morning’s WYD catechesis and Mass homily by Colorado Springs Bishop Michael J. Sheridan.

And if you want a close-up look at the official WYD backpack that’s been showing up all week in various photos from Sydney, check out this post.