Addresses, Cologne, Germany, 20th World Youth Day

Author: Benedict XVI

Addresses by Pope Benedict XVI on his Apostolic Visit to Cologne, Germany, 18-21 August 2005, for the 20th World Youth Day

Welcome Ceremony at the International Airport of Cologne/Bonn
On his arrival at the Cologne/Bonn Airport (18 August 2005), Pope Benedict XVI addressed the President and civil authorities, the Bishops and citizens of the Federal Republic of Germany, and all young people gathering in Cologne. Quoting the words of the Magi, "We have come to worship him," the Pope gave, as the goal of this journey, "an encounter with Christ, an encounter which cannot take place without faith."

Address to Young People on the Banks of the Rhine
From a boat on the Rhine River in Germany, the Holy Father addressed the young people lining its banks. He paid tribute to his predecessor, John Paul II, who "inspired the idea of calling young people from all over the world to join in celebrating Christ," and recalled that Christ, whom they, like the Magi, had come to seek, was the answer to the world's problems.

Address at the Cologne Cathedral
Speaking from the pavement outside Cologne Cathedral, the Holy Father reminded young people of the Christian roots of Cologne. The relics of the Magi were brought to Cologne in 1164, and it was to house them that the magnificent cathedral was built. We must be worthy of the legacy of values left by the generations of Christians who have preceded us.

Visit to the Synagogue of Cologne
On 19 August, the Holy Father visited a Cologne synagogue and assured the Jewish community of his intent to follow the path of John Paul II toward "improved relations and friendship with the Jewish People."

Address to Seminarians at the Church of St. Pantaleon
The Holy Father made it a point to meet with seminarians, "so that the vocational dimension which is always a part of World Youth Day would be even more clearly and strongly evident." The Pope compared the mystery of God's call to the Magi, whose deep desire to find the King of the Jews prompted them to leave everything and begin their journey. Seminary formation is likewise a journey, leading to an encounter with Christ, which becomes adoration.

Ecumenical Address in Cologne
At his meeting with leaders of other Churches and ecclesial Communities, the Holy Father emphasized Christian fraternity, based on our one Baptism, making us members of His one Body. He encouraged ecumenical dialogue, consistent with the truth, and a common response to "the great ethical questions of our time." The Pope also commended "prayer, conversion and the sanctification of life," as the heart of the ecumenical movement.

To Representatives of Muslim Communities of Cologne
On 20 August, the Holy Father addressed ten of Germany's Muslim community leaders, reaffirming his commitment to improve relations between Christians and Muslims. He spoke of terrorism as "a perverse and cruel decision, which shows contempt for the sacred right to life and undermines the very foundations of all civil society.” Believers must work together to oppose "every manifestation of violence."

Address at World Youth Day Vigil
At the Marienfeld esplanade, 27 kilometers (17 miles) from Cologne, the Holy Father addressed some 800,000 youths at the World Youth Day vigil. The Pope highlighted the "true revolution" which comes from God and is able to transform the world. "Only from the saints, only from God does true revolution come, the definitive way to change the world..."

Homily, Closing Mass for 20th World Youth Day
At the Mass closing World Youth Day (21 August), in the Marienfeld esplanade, the Holy Father appealed to more than 1 million young people to become new missionaries in a world that is forgetting God. "Anyone who has discovered Christ must lead others to him. A great joy cannot be kept to oneself. It has to be passed on."

Address to German Bishops at Cologne
The Holy Father expressed the hope that Germany's bishops will continue to foster the spirit of World Youth Day. In a meeting with the prelates in Cologne's seminary, the Pope urged them to find "new ways of reaching out to young people in order to proclaim Christ to them," and to "promote the pastoral care of vocations with renewed vigor."

At the Angelus, World Youth Day, Cologne
At the end of the closing Mass of the 20th World Youth Day, before praying the Angelus, the Holy Father thanked all who were involved in its preparation and organization. He announced the next World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia, 2008.

Farewell Address at Cologne/Bonn International Airport
At the end of the 20th World Youth Day, the Holy Father bid farewell to his native land in the Cologne-Bonn airport, delivering the last address of his first international apostolic trip as Bishop of Rome.