World Youth Day 2005

Cologne, Germany - Pope Benedict XVI

"We have come to adore Him" (Mt. 2:2)

My Pictures of WYD 2005

Message of John Paul II for World Youth Day 2005

What is World Youth Day? - Introduction and Messages

International Handbook for the XX World Youth Day 2005 (PDF 456 KB)

WYD Logo
By Fr. Gary Coulter - Contact me Sign my guestbook Go to Fr. Coulter's Homepage

Spiritual Program for Youth Day Released

COLOGNE, Germany, JUNE 3, 2005 ( World Youth Day 2005 will offer a series of spiritual proposals to young people who will meet with Benedict XVI in Cologne this August.

Father Ulrich Hennes, secretary of the organization of World Youth Day (WYD), presented this week in a press conference the main points of the spiritual program -- catechesis, spiritual centers, pilgrimages to the cathedral, a reconciliation center -- which must put young people "in shape to be Christians."

According to what has been organized so far in Cologne, 248 churches will host the catecheses given in some 30 languages by bishops from all over the world. Among the designated churches, there are seven that are evangelical and one Orthodox.

There will be 30 debates on the faith in stadiums, sports pavilions and universities.

Following the Wise Men

A pilgrimage is planned to take place through the city and along the Rhine, to the cathedral. "In the span of three days, 400,000 people will have visited the shrine of the Three Wise Kings," said Father Hennes.

To this end, the cathedral will be cleared and remain open from 6 a.m. to midnight.

The disabled will also take part in the pilgrimage, which will end with a Eucharistic celebration in Cologne's Tanzbrunnen, an open-air theater used in the summer.

From Aug. 16-20, spiritual centers will be open around-the-clock in Cologne, Bonn and Dusseldorf. Young people will be able to go there to "deepen their spirituality," said Father Josef Funk, of the WYD committee. They will be run by the Taizé Ecumenical Community and the Chemin Neuf (New Way) movement.

A reconciliation center will be prepared in Cologne's market where, from Aug. 17-19, from 8 a.m. to midnight. More than 100 priests will be available to hear confessions in 30 languages.

Young People Invited to Prepare for Cologne

Mar. 1, 2004 ( John Paul II has again invited young people worldwide to prepare for next year's World Youth Day in Germany.

The Aug. 16-21, 2005, event in Cologne is expected to gather more than 500,000 youths.

In a message released today, the Pope sets his sights on Cologne. "I invite you to begin preparing now with responsible and effective enthusiasm," he writes.

The Holy Father addressed German youths in particular, saying that the Youth Day cross will soon "be solemnly welcomed in Berlin, from where it will go on pilgrimage throughout Germany until it arrives next year in Cologne."

The 2002 World Youth Day, in Toronto, drew close to 1 million people.

Key Sites Chosen for World Youth Day 2005

Aug. 26, 2003 ( The Pontifical Council for the Laity has identified the sites for the main events of World Youth Day 2005 in Germany: the Poller Rheinwiesen in Cologne and the Hangelar of Sankt Agustin airport in Bonn.

The decision was made following Monsignor Renato Boccardo's visit to Germany in July, according to a Catholic youth Web page, which is following preparations for World Youth Day. Monsignor Boccardo, who works in the Vatican, oversees preparation of the Pope's apostolic trips.

The opening Mass with Cardinal Joachim Meisner, archbishop of Cologne, and the welcome ceremony for the Pope will take place in the Poller Rheinwiesen, a field on the banks of the Rhine.

The organizers expect up to 350,000 young people in the Poller Rheinwiesen from Aug. 16-18, 2005. The great vigil and closing Mass with the Pope will be held at the Hangelar of Sankt Agustin airport in Bonn on Aug. 20-21. At least 800,000 youths are expected to attend.

Cardinal Stafford on Cologne's World Youth Day

Will Help Put Focus on Europe's Christian Roots, He Says

June 17, 2003 Cardinal James Francis Stafford says that World Youth Day 2005 in Germany will offer young people an opportunity to reflect on the future of Europe and its Christian roots.

"I am very grateful to God for the fact that the Pope has chosen Cologne for the next WYD, as a place of strong Christian tradition," the president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity said in an interview.

"Cologne is a very important city for the whole of Europe, especially in this period in which there is an intense debate on its future, on the roots of Christianity in the Old World," he said.

According to the cardinal, the role of Christian young people, as "leaders of the future," is especially significant in this debate.

"In 2005 there will be an opportunity for young people to offer to God their sentiments as young Europeans as regards the future of Europe together with its Christian past," the American cardinal said.

There will be notable differences between the last year's WYD in Toronto, and the one in Cologne -- beginning with the host cities. "Toronto is a new city, a recent, secularized city," he said. "In Cologne, there is a great tradition for Christian pilgrims."

Moreover, the war in Iraq took place after the Toronto meeting, "This is a great challenge for young people. What is the meaning of these wars in their vocation as Christians? And for their vision of the future?" the cardinal asked.

Cologne 2005 will be "for young people a great opportunity to reflect together about the changes in the world oriented to end the violence and wars," he predicted.

The president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, who is responsible for the organization of the World Youth Days, said the technical and spiritual preparations for the August 2005 event have begun. Early estimates say 800,000 youths might attend.

Student Martyrs Under Nazism Seen as Models for World Youth Day

"White Rose" Cost Them Their Lives in Wartime Germany

COLOGNE, Germany, DEC. 17, 2003 ( - Student martyrs who stood up to Nazism would make good models for participants in World Youth Day 2005, says a Church official in Germany.

Monsignor Helmut Moll of the Cologne Archdiocese, a theological consultor of the Vatican Congregation for Sainthood Causes, made that suggestion about the wartime "White Rose" martyrs, according to the Italian bishops' SIR news agency.

"If I had to suggest a model of holiness for Cologne WYD 2005," he said, "I would choose the White Rose youths -- Orthodox, Protestant and Catholic students of Munich who, in 1942, fought to defend the dignity of man and religion in face of Nazism."

The Munich youths "had understood that [Nazism] represented a great threat and opposed it clearly in six leaflets, taking positions against the deportation of Jews," explained Monsignor Moll, who was the vice postulator of the cause of canonization of Edith Stein and Nicholas Gross.

"The leaflet, which they circulated in German cities and universities, were signed with a 'white rose.' When they were discovered, they were all killed," he said.

"They were youths rich in faith, with a profound ecumenical vision. Although they lived at a different time, they are of enormous importance" at present, said the priest. He is the author of the 20th-century German martyrology, which lists more than 700 people recognized as martyrs by the Church.

In the priest's opinion, "Our society is poor in Christian models; therefore, as the Pope has said, we need figures who are an example of faith, hope and charity. These martyrs are real models of faith who have something to say to all our young people."

He added: "Events such as WYD are a special occasion to show that one can be a witness of faith even though one is young."

Confession at Heart of Youth Day

100 Priests Will Be Available

COLOGNE, Germany, JULY 27, 2005 ( Central to the 20th World Youth Day in Cologne will be the sacrament of reconciliation, alongside the Eucharist and catecheses.

To help the youth prepare, a five-page reflection on the sacrament, prepared by Father Klaus Kluger, has been included in the pilgrim's book.

Entitiled "Arise!" the document uses ten texts of the New Testament that highlight the meaning and importance of the sacrament.

"Why, for example, does Jesus say to the paralytic: 'Your sins are forgiven?' It is because there is also an interior paralysis. We always fail on the same point, as if this failure belonged to us," says the text.

Father Kluger prefers to refer to confession as the sacrament of reconciliation, because the admission of fault is only part, albeit an important part, of the rite.

"It is not just a personal obligation," he explains, "reconciliation is given by God and I must accept it."

The sacrament of reconciliation is an opportunity to confess one's faults and to change one's behavior, says the priest.

More importantly, he says, the "question is certainly not that I have criticized three times, but who am I deep down as a person?" he stated.

Reconciliation center

Father Kluger will also organize the reconciliation center at the fairgrounds in Cologne, which will be divided into areas for preparation and for thanksgiving. The cross entrusted to young people by Pope John Paul II will be in the preparation area.

Between the two premises there will be a pavilion with some 100 triangular tables that will serve as reconciliation stations, sufficiently distant from one another to guarantee discretion.

Several hundred confessors will hear confessions in various languages, indicated by appropriate posters.

The center will be dismantled Aug. 19 and reconstructed in Marienfeld in Kerpen, where the final events of World Youth Day will take place on Aug. 20-21.

WYD Carries 100 Million-Euro Price Tag

Organizers Confident to Meet Costs

BONN, Germany, JULY 25, 2005 ( World Youth Day will cost just under an estimated 100 million euro ($120.7 million), reported the event's administrator.

During a press conference on Friday in Bonn, Hermann-Josef Johanns presented the total WYD expenses to 25 principal sponsors, and added that he is confident that the organizational committee will be able to meet the costs.

Sponsors and businesses, which compose "a representative sample of the German economy and society," have already covered 7.5% of the total budget, said Johanns.

Contributions from pilgrims will cover 40% of the costs, while German dioceses will contribute 30%.

The remaining costs will be covered by donations, the sale of WYD objects and sponsorships, as well as financial help from the German government, the city of Cologne and the European Union.

World Youth Day will be held next month in Cologne, Germany. Benedict XIV will attend the event, as will an expected 800,000 young people.

Official Program of WYD 2005 in Cologne

August 11-15, 2005: Days of Encounter in the German Dioceses

August 15, 2005: Day of arrival in Cologne
August 16-21, 2005: World Youth Day in Cologne
Tuesday, August 16 Afternoon: Opening Mass of Welcome with the Archbishop of Cologne
Wednesday, August 17 Morning: Catechesis and Holy Mass
Thursday, August 18 Morning: Catechesis and Holy Mass, Afternoon: Welcoming Ceremony with the Holy Father
Friday, August 19 Morning: Catechesis and Holy Mass, Evening: Way of the Cross
Saturday, August 20 Vigil with the Holy Father
Sunday, August 21 Morning: Concluding Mass with the Holy Father


Official site (in German)

About the logo

A design by German Jörg Zimmermann has been chosen for the logo of World Youth Day 2005 in Cologne.

The image highlights the encounter with Jesus Christ as the focus of World Youth Day. Jesus is represented by the cross, which dominates the logo.

The color red signifies love, the Passion, and suffering. The star symbolizes divine guidance and it provides a sense of direction. The golden color is a reminder of God's heavenly light, which lights up the darkness of this world.

The lower and supporting parts of the arc remind one of the river Rhine and of a boat: the church is like a ship, also in memory of Noah's redeeming ark. The blue of this arc symbolizes water and therefore also the water of Baptism.

The two peaks of the Cologne Cathedral represents the place in which the World Youth Day will be held. For centuries, the relics of the Three Magi have been venerated in this cathedral. We join them in following the star, Christ, and repeat with them the motto for the XX World Youth Day: "We have come to worship Him" (Mt. 2:2).

Prayer in Preparation for World Youth Day 2005

"Reveal Yourself to Those Who Are in Search of You"

July 9, 2004 (Cologne, Germany)
Official prayer in preparation for the 20th World Youth Day

Lord Jesus Christ,
Savior of the World,
You became man,
to give us a life in abundance.
You promised to remain with Your Church
until the end of time.
Then Your Kingdom will come:
a new heaven and earth
full of love, justice and peace.
This is our hope, our foundation.
Thanks be to You.
Lord, we pray:
Bless the young people around the world.
Reveal Yourself to those who are in search of You.
Awake the non-believers.
Strengthen the faith of those who confess You.
Let them continuously search for You
like the three Wise Men from the East.
Make them architects of a new civilization of love
and witnesses of hope for the whole world.
Through them may You be with those
who suffer from hunger, war and violence.
Inspire those who are contributing
to the World Youth Day 2005.
May they serve Your kingdom
with the power of their faith and their love
and may they welcome their brothers and sisters
from all over the world with open hearts.
Lord, You gave us Mary as our mother.
Let her be our advocate for this World Youth Day.
May it become a celebration of faith.
Bless Your Church with new strength in these days,
so that it can become a credible witness for You.
We ask this through our Lord and God,
living in the unity of the Father and the Holy Spirit,
reigning forever and ever.