German Episcopate Rallying the Faithful for World Youth Day

BERLIN, JAN. 14, 2004 ( The German episcopate appealed to Catholics to prepare spiritually and materially for World Youth Day 2005 so that it will be a “great celebration of faith.”

The appeal was made in a pastoral letter, approved by the Permanent Council of the bishops’ conference and read at all Masses in Germany last Sunday.

Invited by John Paul II, hundreds of thousands of youths will meet in Germany to reflect on the theme “We Have Come to Worship Him,” as articulated by the magi in the Gospel according to Matthew. World Youth Day 2005 will focus on “the vocation of men to seek, find and worship Christ.”

Events for World Youth Day, which runs from Aug. 11 to 21, 2005, will culminate in Cologne, with a vigil with the Pope planned for Aug. 20. The closing Mass is the following day.

The preparation for WYD “should be a spiritual starting point for our Church,” the German bishops said in their message. “We must recognize the signs of the times and our responsibility to renew ourselves in the faith and to be a ‘missionary’ Church, a task in which the preparation for WYD appears as an extraordinary opportunity and obligation.”