Pope Benedict will confirm 14 young Australians during this year's World Youth Day events.
The Catholic Weekly reports 24 year old public relations director Belinda Frame is thrilled to be one of 14 Australians who will be confirmed by Pope Benedict at World Youth Day 2008.
"I was shocked, but I feel honoured and excited; all the emotions in one!" she told the Weekly.
"Nobody had any idea that it could be possible, to be confirmed in this way, so it has come as a great shock to everyone.
"It’s going to be a big day and something you will take with you for the rest of your life."
She was selected for the honour after "taking steps" to become Catholic.
"I've been seeing Fr Dominic Murphy from St Benedict's at Broadway in regards to learning more about Catholicism, taking steps towards converting and having my confirmation," she said.
"He was contacted by WYD08 and asked whether or not he had a suitable candidate for this, and he put my name forward."
Although she attended an Anglican school, Belinda chose to convert to Catholicism to join her fiancé, Marco Chiarella, and his family in their faith.
Belinda and Marco are to be married on November 1, and he is eagerly awaiting her confirmation.
"He is very thrilled, and he is looking forward to the day just as much as I am," she said.
WYD08 coordinator Bishop Anthony Fisher said receiving the sacrament of confirmation from Pope Benedict will be a rare and special event.
"It's not every day that one is confirmed by the global leader of the Catholic Church before hundreds of thousands of people," he said.
"The sacrament is life changing, and to receive the sacrament in this way will prove an unforgettable experience, one that they will each carry with them for the rest of their lives.
The other Australian candidates are Patrick Barrett (Lismore, NSW), Shannon Kyrwood (WA), David Proudlock (WA), Bernadette Kosandiak (SA), John Low (SA), Alexandra Karagiannakis (Tas), Emily Jade Marsden (Tas), Matthew Reuter (Vic), Judi Robinson (Vic), Bernardo Caballero (Qld), Joanne Richards (Qld), Riordan Wang (ACT) and Tasman Gould Heyes (NT.
Meanwhile, Catholic Mission will present a series of dramatised stories and cultural exchanges called "Village Space" which will be held at the Mint in Macquarie Street, Sydney during World Youth Day.
"Our aim during World Youth Day, is to not only bring some representation from the developing world, but also to show other visitors what life is like for most," said Patrick Fox, Education Manager at Catholic Mission.
"The majority of the youth from around the world are not able to attend World Youth Day because of poverty, conflict and other difficulties. Catholic Mission Village aims to show visitors that although it's great to celebrate World Youth Day, there is a harsh reality that 80 per cent of the world's youth face and we need to help them as followers of Christ."
Agreements still pending
The Sydney Morning Herald reports the NSW Government has yet to finalise an agreement with the Catholic Church on what taxpayers will pay to stage it.
More than three years after Sydney won the rights to host World Youth Day, the Premier's Department has refused to release a document "setting out the commitments of the NSW Government" to World Youth Day because it underpins a proposed formal agreement between the Church and the Government which is at a "sensitive stage of negotiation", the paper says.
The impasse, revealed in response to a Herald freedom of information request, is the latest sign of financial tensions between the Church, the Government, the City of Sydney and the Australian Jockey Club.
As the Government solved one dispute last night by agreeing to pay a $150,000 bond so the Church can use Hyde Park, another emerged when the AJC complained that Church contractors had damaged its main dirt training track by digging two trenches for water and sewerage pipes contrary to instruction, creating an uneven surface potentially dangerous to horses.
The club is discussing with the designer and builder of the track what remedial work will be needed. Early estimates suggest that recompacting the surface could cost more than $200,000.
But a World Youth Day spokesman denied its contractors had defied instructions. "A trench 35 centimetres deep and 40 centimetres wide has been dug, as agreed previously by all parties, including the AJC.
"The racing and training facilities at Randwick Racecourse will be returned in original condition by the agreed date of August 23."
Belinda: thrilled at papal confirmation (Catholic Weekly, 20/6/08)
Catholic Mission to show the reality of the World's Youth (Catholic Mission, Media Release, 18/6/08)
Still no deal on taxpayer bill for Youth Day (Sydney Morning Herald, 19/6/08)
World Youth Day 2008
Bishops look for forgiveness as World Youth Day looms (Courier Mail, 19/6/08)