On Thursday the cross was handed over to the Catholic youth of England and Wales at a service attended by Bishop Ambrose Griffiths, chairman of the bishops’ Committee for Young People, and Bishop Kieran Conry of Arundel and Brighton, at St. Wilfred School in Crawley, Sussex.
Accompanied by three young Swiss delegates, following an overnight drive from Geneva, the cross and an icon of Mary were passed on to the students of St. Wilfred’s and youth representatives from the dioceses of Southwark, East Anglia, Clifton and Brentwood. The service marked the beginning of the cross’s pilgrimage through every diocese of England and Wales.
Bishop Griffiths emphasized the “powerfully symbolic” nature of the cross. “The fact that it has been carried around the world and seen by millions of young people who share our faith is a great encouragement that they are not alone in following Christ our Savior,” he said.
“I hope that they will gain confidence from this tremendous experience of a united faith and I hope that this will in turn encourage young people to attend the World Youth Day celebration in Cologne in 2005,” he added.
The cross and icon will be passed on to the Diocese of Southwark on Saturday, at a service at Southwark Cathedral, where it will begin its procession through London to Westminster Cathedral.