"The time has come for me to say good-bye – or rather, to say arrivederci! I thank you all for your participation in World Youth Day 2008, here in Sydney, and I look forward to seeing you again in three years’ time. World Youth Day 2011 will take place in Madrid, Spain. Until then, let us continue to pray for one another, and let us joyfully bear witness to Christ before the world. May God bless you all."
The announcement wasn't too much of a surprise. Earlier in the week the head of the Holy See Press Office, Father Federico Lombardi, suggested that it will be much easier for youth from Spain to participate in the next international World Youth Day.
Regardless, the pilgrims from Spain were overjoyed -- much to the delight of the Holy Father who let out a hearty laugh during the Spanish pilgrims prolonged celebration!
Images courtesy of WYD2008/Getty Images