Confession at Heart of Youth Day

100 Priests Will Be Available

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COLOGNE, Germany, JULY 27, 2005 ( Central to the 20th World Youth Day in Cologne will be the sacrament of reconciliation, alongside the Eucharist and catecheses.

To help the youth prepare, a five-page reflection on the sacrament, prepared by Father Klaus Kluger, has been included in the pilgrim’s book.

Entitiled “Arise!” the document uses ten texts of the New Testament that highlight the meaning and importance of the sacrament.

“Why, for example, does Jesus say to the paralytic: ‘Your sins are forgiven?’ It is because there is also an interior paralysis. We always fail on the same point, as if this failure belonged to us,” says the text.

Father Kluger prefers to refer to confession as the sacrament of reconciliation, because the admission of fault is only part, albeit an important part, of the rite.

“It is not just a personal obligation,” he explains, “reconciliation is given by God and I must accept it.”

The sacrament of reconciliation is an opportunity to confess one’s faults and to change one’s behavior, says the priest.

More importantly, he says, the “question is certainly not that I have criticized three times, but who am I deep down as a person?” he stated.

Reconciliation center

Father Kluger will also organize the reconciliation center at the fairgrounds in Cologne, which will be divided into areas for preparation and for thanksgiving. The cross entrusted to young people by Pope John Paul II will be in the preparation area.

Between the two premises there will be a pavilion with some 100 triangular tables that will serve as reconciliation stations, sufficiently distant from one another to guarantee discretion.

Several hundred confessors will hear confessions in various languages, indicated by appropriate posters.

The center will be dismantled Aug. 19 and reconstructed in Marienfeld in Kerpen, where the final events of World Youth Day will take place on Aug. 20-21.

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