Australian town honours young Liverpudlians - 15 July 2008

 The town of Singleton in New South Wales has created a permanent memorial to the visit of young people from the Archdiocese of Liverpool. The 40 World Youth Day pilgrims have spent the last few days living and working in the local community in the Diocese of Newcastle-Maitland 100 miles north of Sydney. The local Council is planting an olive grove which will be created over a number of years as visiting groups plant trees, Mayor of Singleton, Jack Harvison, invited the young people to plant the first tree as a permanent memorial of their visit.

In a speech at the ceremony Mr Harvison said: "Today we're having our first planting of a tree in this small area which we are turning into a grove. We're planting an olive tree, the symbol of peace, and it is going to be a symbol of your visit here to Australia in remembrance of you coming out for the World Youth Day."

During their time in Singleton the young people have met up with over 10,000 other pilgrims from countries from across the world including Canada, America and Zimbabwe. Clare Oliver from Liverpool said: 'the event is really huge; everyone we've met knows exactly what we're doing here and why we've come to Australia. They've been so welcoming and they've all come over to say "Hello". Everyone is so excited about what is going on.'

Andy Kaye from Wigan said: 'everyone is trying to share as much of their own culture as they can. In the last few days we've led church services in the Singleton area with up to 700 people in the congregation, including many local people and people from the Aboriginal community.'

The pilgrims move south yesterday left for Sydney to attend the main events of the World Youth Day pilgrimage. Pope Benedict XVI arrived in Australia yesterday and is scheduled to meet young people for the first time on Thursday. The Pilgrimage officially opens tomorrow with a Mass of Welcome celebrated by Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney, and concludes with Mass celebrated by the Pope at Randwick racecourse on Sunday morning, 20 July, which 500,000 young people are expected to attend.

Andy Kaye is looking forward to the experience: "for the first three days our mornings will be spent in teaching and discussion groups and during the afternoons and evenings there will be a Youth Festival. It is a wonderful opportunity to experience different types of culture from throughout the world with so many different nations leading events."

Source: Archdiocese of Liverpool

Share this story