in white who had sent ahead to all Australians the simple assurance: "I am eager to see you face to face".
Down from his plane came the personable persuasive Pope with the instant appeal, John Paul, to smack into an incredibly crowded six-and-a-half day visit taking in all six states and the two territories that comprise this vast continent.
He arrived in Canberra, heart of the Australian capital territory, to a right royal official welcome 21 gun salute and all, on Monday. By the time he has left Perth (Western Australia) for Rome next Monday, he will have travelled more than 1I 00 kilometres and given 32 talks.
His tremendously demanding programme assuredly would have daunted a lesser spirit than that which impels this universal pilgrim to labour night and day in bringing his message of peace and justice and brotherhood to all peoples whoever, whatever and wherever they may be.
He said himself, before he reached Australia: "I look forward to meeting people of every age and background, the elderly and the young, workers and the unemployed, the sick and those who care for them, the aboriginal people, the recent immigrants and many others, all children of one heavenly father, all made in the image of god".
When he departs, he will have spoken, with what Archbishop Edward Clancy of Sydney calls a loving father's care and concern, to the church at every level.
What's more, his solicitude will have extended beyond his
Catholic family to people of other christian traditions, to those of non-christian beliefs and to those with no benefits at all.
In each• .state he visits, Pope John Paul is to celebrate an open air Mass. The first was in Canberra on Monday. Appropriately, its theme was the one chosen for the entire visit — "Christ, the way, the truth and the life".
In Brisbane (Queensland), where he went next, there were, On Tuesday, two of several national events that have been slotted into each state schedule. He visited groups of sick and disabled persons, many of whom, had come long distances to see him, and he met members of the media from all over Australia and beyond. Never had there been out here a press conference of this dimension.
"Young people, I love you", Pope John Paul has exclaimed more than once.
In Sydney on Tuesday night, where he came from Brisbane, he had the chance not only to say it again but to show it. He attended the one big youth meeting of his visit.
An estimated 50,000 of them, by no means all Catholics, thronged — perhaps one should say rocked — the Sydney cricket ground and they let themselves go in prayer, in sons, in acclamation, in joy. They came from other states, from country towns, from all walks of life. They showed, in this international peace year 1986 how, linked with the Holy Father, they positively yearn for peace. It was a untorgettable occasion and John Paul responded superbly at what might well be the most significant event of the whole
This is also to be a markedly ecumenical visit. The Pope opened his one full day in Sydney, on Wednesday, by meeting Australian Jewish leaders in St. Mary's Cathedral presbytery. where he was Archbishop Clancy's guest.
In a splendid gesture in Melbourne (Victoria), he went immediately from the airport on Thursday, to St. Pauls Anglican Cathedral, where Anglican Archbishop David Penman greeted him warmly and he lit a unity candle, the same one the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Robert Runcie, lit in St. Patrick's Catholic Cathedral when he was in Melbourne last year.
In Brisbane, Hobart (Tasmania), Darwin and Perth, Anglican synods passed resolutions similar to one in Melbourne which "rejoiced" in the papal visit.
Adelaide (South Australia) will be positively aglow on Saturday night. Tens of thousands of people holding lighted candles, S. ym bo 1 isi ng peace and christain love, will transform into a "candlelit way" the route the pope will take from the airport to Adelaide town half, where he will light an eight-foot-tall advent candle for peace.