Youth Day a "Laboratory of Vocations," Says Pope

Urges German Bishops to Evangelize Young People

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COLOGNE, Germany, AUG. 21, 2005 ( Benedict XVI expressed the hope that Germany’s bishops will continue to foster the spirit of World Youth Day, which drew 1 million young people to Cologne.

In a meeting today with the German bishops in Cologne’s seminary, the Pope outlined the bright spots and problems of the Catholic Church in this country, and invited the prelates to find “new ways of reaching out to young people in order to proclaim Christ to them.”

“Once again young people are providing us, their pastors, with a salutary stimulus, for they are asking us to be consistent, united and courageous,” the Holy Father told his compatriots in the afternoon, hours after the closing Mass of the youth event.

“The experience of the last 20 years has taught us that every World Youth Day represents a kind of new beginning for the pastoral care of young people in the host country,” Benedict XVI said.

“Preparing for the event mobilizes people and resources and celebrating it brings about a surge of enthusiasm that needs to be channeled in the best possible way,” he stated.

Heard in the hearts

“It contains enormous potential energy which can grow greater the wider it spreads. Here I am thinking of parishes, lay associations, movements; and of priests, religious, catechists and youth workers,” the Holy Father said in his address.

In particular, Benedict XVI pointed out what his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, would say about World Youth Day, that it is a “laboratory of vocations.”

“In the course of these days the Lord will not have failed to make his call heard in the hearts of many young people,” Benedict XVI told the bishops.

“In the light of the shortage of priests and religious, which is reaching dramatic proportions here in Germany, I encourage you, dear bothers, to promote the pastoral care of vocations with renewed vigor, in order to reach parishes, educational centers and families,” he said.

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