World Youth Day of the Catholic Church: Large Canadian Delegation Arrives in Cologne

Tuesday, August 16 2005

With in the back the Cathedral of Cologne, a group of pilgrims from Montreal

(CCCB – Cologne)… Nearly 7,000 Canadian pilgrims joined a crowd of hundreds of thousands of youth for today’s opening ceremonies of World Youth Day (WYD) in Cologne, Germany. With the exception of WYD 2002 in Toronto, this is the largest Canadian delegation since the celebration was first launched in 1985.

The majority of Canadians arrived in Cologne yesterday after spending some time in various German dioceses. At the 1997 WYD in Paris, a tradition began with pilgrims from around the world being invited to meet the residents of the host countries by living among them for a few days before taking part in the larger gathering. During 11-15 August, 26 German dioceses opened their doors to visiting youth so they could discover the residents, culture and the Church of the area.

Large rally

Until Sunday, the neighbouring cities of Cologne, Bonn and Düsseldorf will be the stage for a number of activities, including gatherings in the presence of Pope Benedict XVI. On Thursday afternoon, during a welcoming ceremony, the Holy Father will meet the WYD participants for the first time. On Saturday, 20 August, he will join them for a vigil to be held on a site a few kilometres away, in the suburbs of Cologne. The following morning, a farewell Mass will be celebrated by the Pope; the organizers expect over a million participants at this Eucharistic celebration.


World Youth Day is not only about celebrations. It also involves large gatherings and a musical festival, as well as an opportunity for youth to deepen their faith and put it to work. The pilgrims will have an opportunity to participate in small groups involved with solidarity and aid projects, through helping the elderly, the homeless, children, or families having difficulty. Four major activities are planned for all participants: a Way of the Cross through the streets of Cologne, a pilgrimage to the Cathedral in Cologne, and two catechesis sessions by participating bishops.

Among the 30 Canadian Bishops accompanying the youth delegates of their respective dioceses, seven will have the privilege of being catechists and addressing, in their mother tongues, hundreds of youth gathered in churches and arenas. Inspired by the Gospel passage from Matthew on the Magi and the theme of WYD 2005, “We have come to adore him”, the bishop catechists will not only share their reflections with the youth but also exchange with them before celebrating the Eucharist.

World Youth Day is a gathering where celebration and faith become one and where the Pope invites the youth of the world to assemble in one location. WYD is international as witnessed by the youth representing 160 countries who participated in WYD 2002 in Toronto. Their common goal is to get to know one another, to share their experiences and to celebrate together in the presence of the Pope.

Schedule of the catechesis sessions led by Canadian bishops

Wednesday, 17 August

Thursday, 18 August

Friday, 19 August

Cynthia Crevier, a Canadian volunteer in Cologne, and the Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Archbishop of Quebec


For More Information Contact:
Sylvain Salvas
Director, Communications Service
Tel: (613) 241-9461
Fax: (613) 241-9048