City contingent excited at Pope?s visit news
By REN LANZONrlanzon@gladstoneobserver.com.au
GLADSTONE'S contingent in Germany for the World Youth Day and thousands of other Australians "carried on'' when the Pope announced that Sydney would host the next event.
One of the five Gladstone people who were in Cologne for World Youth Day Festival, Bernadette Walters, said the Pope made the announcement in a huge park attended by an estimated one million people from 193 countries.
'It was electrifying to be there at the time, and we were so excited and we just carried on when he announced Sydney would be the next venue for World Youth Day.'
German-born Pope Bene-dict XVI made the announcement on Sunday at an open-air Mass marking the official end of this year's festival.
The pontiff will lead the event which has become an important forum to rally young Catholics.
He said he would make his first visit to Sydney in July 2008 for the conference of young Catholics, which is expected to draw 250,000 people, including 80,000 overseas visitors.
Bernadette said she had two opportunities to see the Pope, first when he sailed along the River Rhine and then when he celebrated Mass in the park.
'It's been marvellous here to meet so many people of different cultures who have come to Cologne for this event and to see the Pope,' she said.
She said she looked forward to the Sydney event and had decided she would volunteer to help out.
As part of the tour, she also visited such places as Gallipoli and cruised the Mediterranean.
'You can tell the people at home I can't wait to see them,' she said.
'When I return I will be bringing back an extra suitcase of things and a new sense of purpose.'
With Bernadette from Gladstone are Salina May, Jessica Little, Colin Clancy and Richard Sutton.