Monsignor Heiner Koch, secretary-general of the Youth Day office, said on behalf of the organizing committee, “We will continue our work under his blessing.”
The Aug. 15-21 event might be one of the first apostolic pilgrimages of the new pope, who will be elected in the forthcoming conclave.
“We all mourn for John Paul II,” Monsignor Koch said. “Since the announcement in Toronto’s WYD 2002 to celebrate the next WYD in the Archdiocese of Cologne, the different people in charge and the 200 employees of the organizational office have committed themselves tirelessly in the preparation of this event and above all of Pope John Paul II’s visit.”
“With the death of Pope John Paul II, the young people of the world lose one of their great intercessors,” he added. “The Pope created World Youth Days and with them developed an element of central importance of his pontificate. He had a profound desire to be in Cologne.”