Monsignor Claudio Giuliodori, a spokesman for the episcopal conference, delivered that estimate Friday on the Aug. 16-21 event in German.
For his part, Father Paolo Giulietti, who will soon be head of the bishops’ National Service for Youth Pastoral Care, said that the objective indicated by Benedict XVI for the upcoming World Youth Day is “to encounter Christ, the eternally young.”
Some 800,000 youths are expected to attend. Benedict XVI will be in Cologne from Aug. 18-21.
Monsignor Giuliodori said that the Italian participants are not going to World Youth Day as though on a holiday or out of curiosity, but after a “community preparation” for the event, “thanks to material and meetings in all the dioceses.”
Marco Federici, also of the bishops’ National Service for Youth Pastoral Care, provided the data on the Italians’ participation. The Italian delegation now includes some 100 bishops, 40 of them who will impart catecheses in Germany; 3,000 priests; and 600 women religious.