By Dan McAloon
Catholic News Service
SYDNEY, Australia (CNS) – Australia has released a special series of coins and postage stamps to commemorate Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Australia for World Youth Day in Sydney as organizers confirmed new details of the July 15-20 events.
Australia Post released one domestic stamp and two international stamps with the pope's picture and the World Youth Day 2008 logo. A limited edition of gold- and silver-coated World Youth Day stamps, the first stamps of their kind to be produced by Australia Post for an event, were also released March 4.
The Perth Mint released limited gold and silver 1-ounce coins depicting Pope Benedict, the World Youth Day logo and the inscription "World Youth Day Sydney 2008" on the reverse side.
John Watkins, a member of the Australian state of New South Wales' Legislative Assembly, announced that Pope Benedict will stay in the residence of Sydney Cardinal George Pell. The papal residence is located next to St. Mary's Cathedral, which will be the focus of eucharistic adoration during World Youth Day; authorities envision a massive security and logistical exercise to cope with the pope's stay.
Watkins said the pope's itinerary includes travel by boat to some Sydney locations and events. Pope Benedict will step ashore to receive his official welcome July 17.
Danny Casey, chief operating officer for World Youth Day, confirmed that Barangaroo, a stretch of waterfront on the eastern side of Darling Harbor, will host the opening Mass, the papal arrival, two stations of a Way of the Cross and several youth festival events.
He said about 150,000 pilgrims are expected for the opening Mass, which Cardinal Pell will celebrate.
At Royal Randwick Racecourse, the site of the overnight vigil July 19-20 and the closing Mass, the pope will celebrate Mass on an altar specially constructed to hold 1,000 clergy.
The altar is to be built on the highest point of land on the 202-acre racecourse, maximizing the ability to see for 300,000 worshippers within the racecourse perimeter. Another 200,000 in the adjacent Centennial Parklands will watch the Mass on large screens.
The racecourse was last used for a papal Mass in 1995 when Pope John Paul II celebrated the beatification ceremony of Sister Mary MacKillop, founder of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart.
World Youth Day organizers have 10 weeks of exclusive access to Randwick in which to transform the racecourse for the July 20 papal Mass.
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