Youths Are "Hope of Church," Says Cardinal Meisner

Sees Parallels With Life of Mary

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ROME, MARCH 3, 2005 ( Just as youths were among the most important personalities in the Bible, so will young people play a key part in the future of the Church, says Cardinal Joachim Meisner.

The archbishop of Cologne, whose archdiocese will host World Youth Day in August, expressed this conviction when concelebrating Mass on Wednesday in the Holy See’s St. Lawrence International Youth Center.

During the homily, the 71-year-old cardinal explained to students and pilgrims who were listening to him, that in the history of salvation many figures were elderly, such as Abraham, but many others were young, such as Mary. He compared the two with the elderly John Paul II and young people.

«Young people are the hope of the Church; like Mary before God, they can cry out, ‘Let be it done unto me according to your Word,'» the prelate said.

The archbishop mentioned that he had visited the Pope that morning at the Gemelli Polyclinic where, clasping his hands affectionately, he said: «Holy Father, I shall not leave you anymore, we need you.»

John Paul II expressed the hope of participating in the forthcoming World Youth Day, said the cardinal.

The Youth Day organizing committee, led by the cardinal, invited the young people present to the Cologne event, which is expected to attract 800,000 youths.

The St. Lawrence Center welcomes young people on pilgrimage to discover the Church of Rome and to «experience World Youth Day daily.»

Cardinal Meisner presided over the Mass, concelebrated by Bishop Josef Clemens, secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity; Monsignor Francis Kohn, director of this Vatican Council’s Youth Section; and three German priests in charge of the organization of World Youth Day.

The St. Lawrence Center is located near St. Peter’s Square on Via Pfeiffer. Its e-mail address is

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