German youths upset after Filipinos denied visas for WYD

A group of young German Catholics have said they are too disappointed to go to World Youth Day activities in Cologne after Filipino youths they sponsored were refused visas.

Catholic News Service reports that the four Filipinos they had invited to attend the Days in the Diocese ahead of the World Youth Day activities were refused visas by the German Embassy in Manila.

Britta Buker, 19, of St. Mary's Church in Waltrop, Germany, said parishioners were shocked over the refusal.

"We are very astonished. We were looking forward to their coming, and now one day before they should arrive, they're not able to come," she said.

Buker and some of the other young people have decided they are giving up on World Youth Day.

"I wanted to go there with the Filipinos," she said, "but if they don't come, I don't have any real reason to go anymore."

The St Mary's youth group decided to raise about $A6,559 to help the Filipino students attend World Youth Day-related activities. They raised the money and planned the program for a week's visit, and a day before the Filipinos were due to leave Fehlker called the German Embassy in Manila, which said the visas were ready. But when one of the Filipinos arrived to pick up the papers, he was told they would not get visas after all. Fehlker said they cannot find out why the visas were refused.

Organisers of World Youth Day had arranged with the Foreign Ministry for participants to have easy access to free visas, providing they applied in person and had a supporting letter from their bishop. But Matthias Kopp, spokesman for World Youth Day, said there were some countries, like the Philippines, Cameroon and Togo, where participants had trouble obtaining visas.

The Foreign Ministry spokesman said that the Philippines was a country in which many visa applications were rejected.

German youths upset that Filipinos denied visas for World Youth Day (Catholic News Service 10/8/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
World Youth Day - Australia
World Youth Day - International
World Youth Day - Vatican
World Youth Day 2005 - News by www.pulitzer.de
Diary of a Pilgrim (WYD 2005, Archdiocese of Melbourne)

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11 Aug 2005