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Pope welcomed at World Youth Day

world Updated: Jul 17, 2008 11:43 IST

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Pope Benedict XVI arrived by boat at a former wharf on Sydney harbour on Thursday ahead of a massive outdoor welcome by around 150,000 World Youth Day pilgrims.

The pope travelled across Sydney Harbour in a 13 vessel "boat-a-cade" before docking at Barangaroo, where he was to be officially welcomed to World Youth Day.

The pontiff stood at rail of his multi-decked boat, waving to the huge crowd after the 45-minute journey on which he was accompanied by a painted Aboriginal youth and a party that included a throng of cardinals and church officials.

Pilgrims and locals crammed vantage points around the harbour to catch a glimpse of the waving 81-year-old pontiff during the "boat-a-cade", with more crowded into the 150,000-capacity venue.

Thousands are also expected to fill the streets after the welcome when the pope was to be driven through central city streets in his popemobile on his way to his city accommodation.

World Youth Day has drawn around 200,000 pilgrims to Sydney and the closing mass on Sunday is expected to draw a crowd of up to half a million.