SYDNEY, Australia, NOV. 5, 2007 (Zenit.org).- World Youth Day organizers say that Servant of God Pope John Paul II was a natural choice as one of the event’s 10 patrons, since the Polish Pontiff invented the gatherings.
L’Osservatore Romano published the list of patrons chosen for WYD ’08, to be held in Sydney in July.
Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, a student and athlete who worked with Catholic Action of Italy, also made the list. Blessed Pier died at age 24 in 1925.
The Polish woman religious who inspired the future John Paul II, Saint Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938), was also chosen.
Another patron is a native of WYD’s host country. Blessed Mary McKillop, the first Australian woman to be canonized, was also the first to found a religious order Down Under, the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Cross.
Also included are St. Peter Chanel and St. Therese of Lisieux. Another Oceanian is Blessed Peter To Rot, a lay catechist from Papua New Guinea, the son of a tribal chief, who was martyred in a Japanese concentration camp at the end of World War II.
St. Maria Goretti and Blessed Teresa of Calcutta were also chosen. And finally, the Virgin Mary under the title of “Our Lady of the Southern Cross, Help of Christians,” protector of Australia, is being counted as one of the event’s patrons.
The organizers are encouraging youth to consecrate themselves to the Virgin of the Southern Cross with the spirit of John Paul II’s motto, “Totus Tuus.”