Thursday, July 17, 2008

In a Pope-Mad Country

Friday noon in Sydney, and it's looking as if all's... exuberant.

Not only are the natives amazed at some of the most beautiful winter weather they can remember -- highs'll be near 70F (20C) today, topping out at 74F (22C) for Sunday's closing liturgy -- but even the oft-cynical Aussie press has gone Pope-happy, celebrating B16 for "shining his light" in their midst.

Having already said Mass and held courtesy meetings with the Governor and Premier of New South Wales and the city's Lord Mayor, and given addresses to separate gatherings of representatives from the ecumenical and interfaith communities, the pontiff's on his way to the traditional papal lunch with 12 lucky pilgrims.

Come 3pm local time (0500GMT; 1am ET Friday), the day's climax will come with the traditional WYD live Stations of the Cross, beginning at the Cathedral before traversing six Harbourside stops. Appearing in front of St Mary's to offer a prayer and look on for the First Station, the Pope'll then return inside to watch the remainder via television. After the Via Crucis, Benedict is to meet with a group of disadvantaged youth, to whom he'll offer his final public words of the day, turning in for the night by 8pm.

As always, the papal pilgrimage can be viewed via the livestreams of Salt + Light and EWTN, then caught on-demand shortly thereafter on the WYD vid-page. Also offering coverage -- and, even more importantly, archiving it -- is Boston's Catholic TV, whose goodies are available at the easily-memorable

PHOTO: Reuters