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German organizers further plans for World Youth Day

The Pontifical Council for the Laity held a preparatory session for World Youth Day organizers from Germany on yesterday, the feast of the Epiphany. The date of the meeting is significant, since the Epiphany commemorates the visit of the Magi to the child Jesus. The relics of the Magi are conserved in the cathedral of Cologne, the host city for World Youth Day 2005.

Catholic World News reports 135,000 young people have already registered to participate in the World Youth Day (WYD) festivities, which will be held August 16- 21. Organizers expect that about 800,000 will eventually attend. But Cardinal Joachim Meisner emphasizes that the Church in Cologne will be prepared, whatever the number of people attending. "Even if 2 million arrive, we aren't going to throw anyone into the Rhine," he laughs.

The figure of 135,000 early registrations includes only those young people who have used the WYD internet site to register. It does not include participants from Germany or Italy. For Germans, participation is being organized through the dioceses; in Italy, national youth organizers are coordinating arrangements.

Although the participation of young Catholics from countries such as Indonesia and Thailand has been thrown into question by the disastrous tsunami in the Asian region, organizers have announced plans to set aside a portion of their available funds to help those young people who wish to make the trip from the afflicted Asian countries. "We should help the people affected by the tsunami, and we will help them," Cardinal Meisner said.

This week's organizing meeting will be attended by Cardinal Karl Lehmann, the president of the German bishops' conference, and Archbishop Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, as well as Cardinal Meisner. Also participating will be 250 representatives from the world's episcopal conferences and from Catholic lay movements and ecclesial communities.

The opening Mass for WYD will be held outdoors, in a park in central Cologne, where organizers say that 350,000 people can be accommodated easily. The same park will be the scene for welcoming ceremonies when Pope John Paul II arrives on August 18. The concluding Mass, at which the Holy Father is scheduled to preside, will be held at a larger park near Kerpen.

To date, the visit to Cologne is the only foreign trip on the Pope's calendar for 2005.

German organizers further plans for World Youth Day (Catholic World News 5/1/05)

World Youth Day 2005
World Youth Day 2005 (Australian Site)

Pell calls Cologne "a journey on many levels" (CathNews 19/8/04)
Pell lobbies for World Youth Day Sydney 2008 (CathNews 30/3/04)
Vatican rebuff for Sydney's "premature" 2007 World Youth Day bid (CathNews 23/2/04)
Sydney's bid to host WYD 2007 gets boost (CathNews 8/1/04)
Bishops back Sydney bid for World Youth Day 2007 (CathNews 31/12/03)
The Official Logo for the XX World Youth Day 2005 in Cologne (CathNews 19/6/03)
Pope leaves Canada following World Youth Day success (CathNews 30/7/02)
Young Catholics eager to greet Pope at World Youth Day (CathNews 26/7/02)
Pope arrives in Toronto, praises intelligence, hearts of young people (CathNews 25/7/02)
Numbers down, spirits up for Toronto World Youth Day (CathNews 11/6/02)
Thousands arrive in Toronto for World Youth Day (CathNews 23/7/02)

Pope prays for all the world's children (Catholic World News 6/1/05)
Pope: Trafficking of children vile (CNN 6/1/05)

7 Jan 2005