“At this time our work consists primarily of spiritual preparation,” explained Father Ulrich Hennes, who oversees the pastoral care of youth in the Archdiocese of Cologne, and has been entrusted with the spiritual dimension of World Youth Day 2005.
“A work, such as the organization of WYD, cannot take place without a great educational commitment,” he said. Then, “the young people themselves will be in charge of informing and sensitizing parish communities on the hospitality that will be offered to youth.”
The event itself, planned for Aug. 16-21, 2005, in Cologne, “is an appointment for Catholic young people to meet with the Holy Father,” Father Hennes said. “However, the memorandum of the Pontifical Council for the Laity explains that World Youth Days are an invitation to dialogue between Christians.”
“I think that our particular German situation invites us to schedule times for ecumenical prayer with young people of other Christian confessions,” the organizer added.
“Many Protestant young people, for example, scout groups and youth choirs, have expressed their readiness to help in preparing the young people’s welcome,” he said. “I know that many young Protestants of Cologne took part in the WYDs of Paris, Rome and Toronto.”