Germans Awaiting Their Own Spotlight

As Preparations Get Under Way for 2005 Event in Cologne

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TORONTO, JULY 29, 2002 ( “A prize and a challenge,” is how Cardinal Karl Lehmann described the designation of Cologne as the next venue for World Youth Day.

“To welcome young people of the world in Germany, as we were received in Canada, represents a great responsibility for the German Catholic Church,” Cardinal Lehmann said Sunday. The cardinal is the president of the German bishops’ conference.

“I thank the Holy Father for his confidence and Canadians for their reception,” he said.

As in Canada, young people will be housed with families of German dioceses a few days before the meeting itself, expected to take place from Aug. 16-21, 2005.

For his part, Cardinal Joachim Meisner, archbishop of the diocese that will stage the next WYD, explained that what is important is not the organization of the event but the message it will give young people.

Monsignor Franz Josef Bode, president of the Youth Committee of the German bishops’ conference, and one of the people responsible for the organization of the 20th World Youth Day, observed: “We have been explorers who have learned many good things that we carry with us.”

The 6,000 young Germans who participated in Toronto’s WYD have gathered impressions and experiences that they will use in the preparation of Cologne 2005. Ten bishops accompanied them in Canada.

The German edition has been postponed for a year — WYDs are generally held every two years at the world level — to celebrate the 20th anniversary of WYD. The three years of preparation will serve to promote youth pastoral care in the Church in Germany.

Next Palm Sunday, in Rome, young Canadians will pass the WYD cross on to the Germans, who will take it on pilgrimage in their homeland.

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