The 3.8 metre high, 40 kilogram Cross and Icon were presented to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Archbishop of Sydney Cardinal George Pell, World Youth Day Coordinator Bishop Anthony Fisher, Archbishop of Canberra-Goulburn Mark Coleridge, and Senator Ursula Stephens.
"The WYD Cross & Icon has visited parliaments around the world, and their visit here is a reason to reflect," Cardinal Pell said.
"It is a moment to pray for justice, peace and equality in our country. It is also a moment to acknowledge prayerfully those times in our history when the Cross has not been faithfully borne by those who profess Christ," he said.
For the first time, an indigenous Message Stick has joined the journey in Australia. This is an invitation to indigenous youth to attend WYD08 from the indigenous people of Sydney, the Eora Gadigal people.
Today's ceremony included a Welcome to Country by Aunty Agnes Shea, a local Ngunnawal Elder and a liturgy led by Archbishop Coleridge.
The Cross and Icon's historic visit also coincides with the 20 year anniversary of Parliament House.
World Youth Day cross arrives in Canberra (ABC 18/02/08)