"Recognisably Australian" red, orange, yellow and blue banners will adorn Sydney for World Youth Day and Pope Benedict's visit, Cardinal George Pell has announced.
The Daily Telegraph reports the colours which are reminiscent of the Australian Outback, but Sydney Harbour and the Southern Cross will be the "principal decorations" of this year's World Youth Day.
The Pope's Master for Liturgical Ceremonies, Monsignor Guido Marini, joined Cardinal George Pell and WYD08 coordinator Bishop Anthony Fisher to announce the designs behind this year's festival.
Unveiling the vibrant red, orange, yellow and blue banners, fencing, billboards and flags, Cardinal Pell said the colours were "recognisably Australian".
The designs include 2,500 banners which will be hung around the city from the end of June.
Among the most spectacular installations will be two "sanctuaries", or sacred spaces surrounding altars built for the event.
Construction work on the first showpiece sanctuary at Barangaroo, near King St Wharf, will begin in the coming weeks, ahead of Pope Benedict's arrival on Sydney Harbour in July.
Workers will begin building the second one, at Randwick Racecourse, from June 15 and Bishop Fisher said it would be a large structure, measuring 60m wide and 73m deep.
It will be covered by a 22 metre tall roof and will feature a giant cross and a painting of Marjorie's Bird, depicting the Holy Spirit, by Tiwi Islander artist Marjorie Liddy.
The image will also feature on vestments worn by priests at the event, while Bishop Fisher said he had every confidence Pope Benedict would don "a more elaborate version" when he celebrated Mass on July 20. The event is expected to be up to 500,000.
Bishop Fisher said WYD08 organisers had thought carefully about the messages behind the colours and designs for the festival.
"The colours of red, orange and yellow flowing throughout symbolise the Holy Trinity and the flames of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost," he said.
"They also bring to mind the colours the Australian Outback. The blue represents the waters of baptism, the sea of humanity and Mary full of grace.
"They also represent the oceans that surround Australia, and the magnificent Sydney Harbour, the location of this great event."Meanwhile, a WYD media release announces that approximately 25 million items have already been ordered. These will be used to serve breakfast at more than 400 accommodation venues, lunch at 250 catechesis sites and evening meals in the central city.
Over 900,000 hot evening meals, prepared by Easyfood in Victoria, will be served throughout the week at major city locations including Barangaroo, Hyde Park, Domain, Darling Harbour and the Sydney Opera House Forecourt.
In total, 3.5 million meals will be served during the entire event, said Director of Pilgrim Services, Geoff Morris.
The ABC reports that World Youth Day organisers say they are confident of reaching their targeted number of international visitors, even though visa figures show they are 73,000 people short.