230,000 Already Registered for World Youth Day

COLOGNE, Germany, FEB. 17, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Six months before World Youth Day, some 230,000 people have already registered for the event in Germany.

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«As [Vatican spokesman] Joaquín Navarro Valls said January 13, the Holy Father’s trip to Cologne is confirmed,» and «we go forward with the organization,» official World Youth Day spokesman Matthias Kopp told the Web site Korazym.

According to organizers, 400,000 pilgrims are expected to attend the World Youth Day opening ceremony. They expect 600,000 for the vigil Aug. 20 with John Paul II and 800,000 for the closing Mass the next day.

Kopp said that 10,000 volunteers have already arrived to help with the event.

World Youth Day is expected to cost 90 million euros ($116 million), said Kopp. «The governments of Berlin and Duesseldorf have donated over 12 million,» he said. The event is also seeking funds from the European Parliament and sponsors.

«Recently I have been in Iraq and Jordan,» Koop said. «I have met with Catholic and Orthodox bishops. Iraqi and Jordanian young people have a great desire to participate in WYD, but the Toronto experiences has taught us to be cautious: In the end, the problem of visas impeded access to numerous young people.»

See www.wjt2005.de.

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