7,000 young Canadians return home after the XXth World Youth Day

Sunday, August 21 2005

(Cologne – CECC)… "I invite you to join me in Sydney, Australia, in 2008, for the XXIIIrd World Youth Day". It was with this invitation to over a million young people gathered at Marienfeld, a huge field in the suburbs of Cologne, Germany, that Pope Benedict XVI ended World Youth Day 2005.

Created by Pope John Paul II in 1985, WYD was again a great success as shown by the large number of participants from all over the world who came to Germany to take part in this international gathering. The Canadian delegation was made up of nearly 7,000 young Canadians as well as 30 Bishops who made a point to join with their diocesan groups for this giant celebration of the Christian faith.

“The presence of all these young people at the XXth World Youth Day brings hope for the future of the Catholic Church and the transmission of the Good News to the world”, said Most Rev. Brendan M. O’Brien, Archbishop of St. John’s and president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB). “I praise John Paul II for having the vision of this international gathering for Catholic youth as well as for those of other denominations.”

Under the theme “We have come to worship Him”, WYD 2005 started in the German dioceses, from August 11-15, and continued in the cities Cologne, Bonn and Düsseldorf, August 16-21. Despite the tiredness due to frequent and long travel and short nights, particularly the one spent outdoor at Marienfeld, under a weather of only 12° Celsius during the night of August 20-21, the young Canadian pilgrims greatly appreciated their time in Germany.

“This was my third participation to WYD after Paris in 1997, and Rome in 2000”, said Bianca Bourbeau, 26-years old, from Nicolet, Quebec. “The reason I came to Germany was for the rich spiritual experience of WYD and also to hear Benedict XVI personal message to the youth."

In this regard, Benedict XVI followed in the footsteps of his predecessor, John Paul II, and invited youth to work for the construction of a better world. “I know that you have great aspirations, that you want to pledge yourselves to build a better world. Let other see this, let the world see it, since this is exactly the witness the world expects from the disciples of Jesus Christ”, said the Holy Father during the closing mass.

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