World Youth Day


Thousands of young British Catholics are preparing to travel to Germany to attend World Youth Day in Cologne. The gathering is being lead by Pope Benedict XVI, and marks his first official visit overseas since he became Pope in April.

Up to a million young Catholics from around the world aged 16 - 30 years old are expected to attend the event, which takes place from August 11th - 21st.It’s the largest ever group to go from England and Wales.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy -O'Connor, President of the Catholic Bishops Conference in England and Wales, and Archbishop of Westminster, will be there accompanied by 21 Bishops. The Cardinal will concelebrate the closing WYD Mass with the Holy Father on Sunday August 21st.

Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor said: "World Youth Day is an extraordinary opportunity for hundreds of thousands of young people to come together in a joint celebration of faith. It is surely providential that this year it should be in Germany, and that Pope Benedict is choosing the occasion for his first foreign trip and return to his native land. Pope Benedict said at his inauguration that the "Church is alive". The Church is alive because it worships Jesus Christ. That is the theme of World Youth Day in Cologne, when young people from all over the world will gather under the banner, "We have come to worship Him". It promises to be a memorable occasion."

Bishop Ambrose Griffiths OSB, Episcopal President of the Catholic Youth Services World Youth Day said: "World Youth Day is an unforgettable event, and for many a life-changing experience. It is an inspiration to meet so many keen young Catholics from all parts of the world and to share in their commitment and devotion to Jesus Christ. World Youth Day has always given me hope that these young people will be the ones to spread the love and peace which the world so urgently needs."

Helen Bardy from the Catholic Youth Service said: "It's extremely exciting to go to World Youth Day with this amount of young people and so many bishops supporting us. It's an exciting time to be there with the Pope and we hope we can bring some of the excitement back home with us to share with many more."


A pilgrimage? A youth camp with the Pope? An international prayer festival?
WYD is a mixture of all three, a massive celebratory get-together for young Catholics with the Church's leader, Pope Benedict XVI.

More than two thousand young English Catholics are attending WYD 2005. This is the largest group ever to come to World Youth Day from England and Wales. It is also the first time such a large number of bishops from England - (21 at present) - will attend the event.
The atmosphere will be festive, the mood exhilarating, but the focus will be on prayer, and growing in Christian faith. Every day, there will be Mass, prayers and teaching (catechesis) on essential aspects of the Catholic faith as well as music and cultural events.
WYD 2005 is the 20th World Youth Day since 1985 when the event was founded by Pope John Paul II. Since then, millions of young Catholics have travelled the globe to attend WYD in spots as far-flung as Toronto, Rome and the Philippines. Usually the turnout is huge: 2.5 million people attended WYD Rome in 2000.
For many young Catholics, attending World Youth Day has proved a turning point in their faith journey. Some have gone on to become priests or nuns, inspired by the teaching of the Pope and the spirit of WYD.

World Youth Day 2005 divides into two phases.
PHASE ONE: August 11th - 16th

'Days of Encounter': English Catholics will meet other WYD participants and stay with German families in parishes across the country including in the dioceses of Aachen, Munster and Trier.
Special activities will be organised daily including Social Action Days, the chance to get involved in practical hands-on projects.

PHASE TWO: August 16th - 21st
Timetable (provisional)
Tuesday August 16th: Arrival of World Youth Day groups in Cologne.
Wednesday August 17th: Catechesis, Mass.
Thursday August 18th: Catechesis. Arrival of Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor.
Mid-day: Arrival of Pope Benedict XVI. Pope travels down the Rhine to meet WYD groups at Rheinwiesen wharf. Pope travels back to Cologne via the river and visits Cologne Cathedral.
Friday August 19th: 10.30 am: Pope meets Horst Kohler. Mid-day, Pope visits Synagogue. WYD Programme: Catechesis. Way of the Cross, World Youth Day Cross events.
Saturday August 20th: Pope meets civic and political leaders including Gerhard Schroder. Meeting with Muslim representatives. Pilgrimage to vigil site. Pope joins young people for prayer vigil ending at 10.30 pm.
Sunday August 21st: Closing Mass with the Pope. 6.45 pm: Pope Benedict XVI leaves for Rome.

Interviews will be available with:
First - timers: young Catholics attending World Youth Day for the first time.
Returnees: Catholics who have attended World Youth Day in the past, such as WYD 2002 in Toronto, or WYD 2000 in Rome
Representatives of agencies of the Catholic Bishops' Conference: CAFOD, The Catholic Agency for Evangelisation, The National Office of Vocations
Catechesis givers: Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor, Archbishop Nichols of Birmingham, Archbishop MacDonald of Southwark.
The Catholic Communications Network will be sending a press liaison representative.
For more information and to arrange interviews, please contact Jo Siedlecka mobile: 07720810479