This post will be updated daily with new material over the course of this week. Likewise, check out Amy Welborn who has all the goods, including links to all those live-blogging the events. - Christopher
Farewell ceremony at the International Airport of Cologne/Bonn, August 21, 2005.
Meeting with German Bishops in the Piussaal (Pius Hall) of the Seminary of Cologne, August 21, 2005.
Vigil with youth at Marienfeld area August 20, 2005.
Meeting with representatives of Muslim Communities, at the Archbishopric of Cologne August 20, 2005.
Ecumenical meeting at the Archbishopric of Cologne August 19, 2005.
Meeting with seminarians at the Church of St Pantaleon in Cologne August 19, 2005.
Visit to the Synagogue of Cologne August 19, 2005.
Visit to the Cathedral of Cologne August 18, 2005.
[Address to Youth] Papal Welcoming Ceremony on the Poller Rheinwiesen bank in Cologne August 18, 2005.
Welcome ceremony at the International Airport of Cologne/Bonn, after being greeted by German President Horst Köhler. August 18, 2005.
- His Holiness Benedict XVI speaks to Vatican Radio about his next visit to Köln for the 20th WYD August 12, 2005 [transcript - translation from German by Cristina Badde]:
" Holy Father, can you tell me what you would like to transmit to the youth of the world? What is the main issue you would like to "bring about"?Read the whole thing. (Thanks, Rocco Palmo @ Whispers in the Loggia).
Yes – I would like to show them how beautiful it is to be Christian, because the widespread idea which continues to exist is that Christianity is composed of laws and bans which one has to keep and, hence, is something toilsome and burdensome – that one is freer without such a burden. I want to make clear that it not a burden to be carried by a great love and realization, but it is like having wings. It is wonderful to be a Christian with this knowledge that it gives us a great breadth, a large community: As Christians we are never alone – in the sense that God is always with us, but also in the sense that we are always standing together in a large community, a community for The Way, that we have a project for the future - and in this way a Being which is worth believing in. This is the joy of being a Christian and is the beauty of believing.
- Catholic World News has PB16's daily schedule for August 18-21. Also, here is the 90-page Handbook for WYD 2005, courtesy of Aristotle the Recovering Choir Director, who will be attending the festivities.
- For the traditionalist-minded of my readers, here is some liturgical eye-candy from the Juventutem website -- first photographs from World Youth Day 2005. As Brian from the new blog The New Liturgical Movement says: "Look at the traditionalist pilgrims' Cologne schedule [.pdf format] . . . and then tell me you're not just a touch jealous."
- According to AsiaNews, Benedict XVI has expressed the hope that WYD will become a "starting point for the re-evangelization of Europe." He's got a good audience to work with:
. . . Participation in the six digits is expected when young Catholics gather for the 20th World Youth Day (WYD) on August 16-21 in Cologne, Germany. The event will culminate with the presence of the Pope.
Some 400,000 young participants have already officially registered inspired by this year’s theme: "We have come to worship Him". Organisers expect that number to be twice as much on the days of the main events and reach a million on August 21 when Pope Benedict XVI celebrates the Eucharist in Marienfeld, Mary’s Field, 17 km west of Cologne. Overall, about 1.2 million people are expected to come. . . .
And for those who can't make it, please note:
On this occasion, the Pope has granted the plenary indulgence to all those who will present in Cologne. For all those who cannot but who will pray for the young people, he has granted the partial indulgence.
Please keep the Holy Father and all those attending in your prayers, that they may carry that same enthusiasm for Christ, the Pope and his Church to their homes, families and schools in the days following the event.
- John Allen Jr's "Word from Rome" is, of course, a must-read for weekly coverage of Pope Benedict's pontificate. This particular segment lays out the background and expectations for World Youth Day in Cologne, Germany:
World Youth Day is the largest regular gathering of Catholics in the world, and therefore offers the pope a critically important opportunity to exercise his "bully pulpit." Any event that involves a million people will draw media attention, and the theatre of a high papal Mass offers the global press irresistible imagery. All of this means that when Benedict XVI speaks in Cologne, the world will be listening in a way it generally doesn’t to papal addresses. (Some 4,000 journalists are already accredited for the event). It’s an "at-bat" for the pope as a global communicator, and whether he strikes out or knocks it out of the park will make a difference in the Catholic Church’s capacity to "evangelize," meaning to spread its message.
As well as the Holy Father's relationship to Lutheranism, another topic of marked interest as he encounters Germany's Catholic population (which, host to such organizations as Call to Action, harbor the rebellious spirit of their Protestant brethren):
As a German theologian, and a convinced Augustinian, Joseph Ratzinger has long admired the Protestant Reformer Martin Luther. In 1965, commenting on the document Gaudium et Spes from the final session of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), Ratzinger criticized the text for relying too much on the optimism of French Jesuit Teilhard de Chardin, and not enough on Luther’s consciousness of the Cross and of sin. (Note that Ratzinger was complaining that a Catholic document neglected the father of the Protestant Reformation; that alone says something about his ecumenical attitudes).
Also covered is the Holy Father's relationship with the Jewish people (he will visit the Cologne synagogue for a prayer service on Friday, August 19) as well as Muslims (he is scheduled to meet Muslim leaders the following day at the archbishop's palace).
- See also: Cologne Jews prepare for Pope, by Yossi Lempkowicz. European Jewish Press. August 10, 2005.
- Nice photo page from Vatican Radio. Got photos from Cologne? -- Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
- One of the perks of his profession -- my brother Jamie is "attending World Youth Day in Cologne, through a fortunate series of coincidences, which happened to make it a more or less business related trip." Having Vienna in Three Hours, he's now blogging his first day in Cologne -- check it out at AdLimina.Blogspot.com.
- Good blogging from Tim Drake. Who better to cover World Youth Day than the author of Young and Catholic: The Face Of Tomorrow's Church?
- Fr. Willy Raymond of Hollywood, CA will be audio-podcasting at Couragio ("a pilgrim's journal for WYD 2005"). He "will be travelling with a party that includes Jim Caviezel and his wife Kerri and Clarence Gilyard and his wife Elena and their three children; Rachel, Paul and Max.
. . . We are sponsoring a major English language event at World Youth Day on Friday, August 19, at the UTL Arena in Dusseldorf from 2 PM to 6 PM. We will welcome Jim and Kerri Caviezel to address the assembly, then we will screen the film "The Passion of the Christ". (Thanks go to Mel Gibson for donating a copy of the film for this event. Finally, we will pray the five Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary in five different languages. Clarence Gilyard will also speak, he is best known for his role on "Walker Texas Ranger."
- Kishore Jayabalan notes the significance of Cologne in "Becoming Adults in Christ: Benedict and World Youth Day" Acton Commentary. August 17, 2005.
The late University of Chicago Professor Allan Bloom noted the absolute relativism among university students in The Closing of the American Mind (1987), and how this relativism is believed to be a moral postulate of the free society, rather than a theoretical insight. “The danger they have been taught to fear from absolutism in not error but intolerance. Relativism is necessary for openness, and this is the virtue, the only virtue, which all primary education for more than fifty years has dedicated itself to inculcating,” wrote Bloom.
As an antidote to relativism, Pope Benedict proposes an adult faith, one “deeply rooted in friendship with Christ,” making “truth in love”. Young people need to be taught and shown that there is such a thing as knowable objective truth. They need to learn how freedom and moral responsibility work together and lead to a virtuous life. A society that does not recognize truth cannot defend itself when challenged, as Europe currently is, and World Youth Day is the perfect setting for this message.
The choice of Cologne for the 20th WYD was not Benedict’s; it now appears providential. Besides serving as a homecoming for a German Pope, Cologne boasts an awe-inspiring Gothic cathedral, a university that hosted Albert the Great, Thomas Aquinas and Duns Scotus as teachers, and a Carmelite convent that housed St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, also known as Edith Stein, the Jewish philosopher who converted to Catholicism and died in Auschwitz. If there is a place to show how the Christian faith shaped Europe and formed heroic persons even in its darkest hours, this is it.
- Cologne Day 2 - My brother speaks highly of the Legionairies of Christ and their evangelization efforts:
. . . The Legionaires never cease to amaze me. They managed to secure a hotel about one block from the Cathedral, a prime spot for young people. They are running a 'coffeeshop' with live internet access and dirt-cheap food available for any pilgrims who stop by. An hourly mass and six confession stations (in about 20 languages) run twelve hours a day. Live bands and intermittent vocation speakers exchange places on the stage. Books and flyers from Legionaires and Regnum Christi criss-cross the room. The kids come in droves. Hundreds every hour flock in and out, peppering the confession booths, chattering up the priests (why is it that the Legionaire priests are the best-looking priests around?), and crowding in for masses. No site at WYD is as successful. They blatantly promote priestly vocations, parade their priests around, and push (literally) the kids into confession booths, and the kids respond en masse. No one else is pushing confessions. The Legionaires are there. I am incredibly grateful, because spiritual renewal is impossible without penance: I know that, and the Legionaires know that. . . . I caught a confession with a Legionaire who barely spoke English (no worries, a fantastic confessor!). We left both utterly amazed by what the Legionaires had put together. No fuss. Just substance.
- Pope Benedict XVI is IN DA HOUSE!:
COLOGNE, Germany (AFP) 8/18/05 - An emotional Pope Benedict XVI arrived in his native Germany sparking a rapturous ovation from a welcoming party of young pilgrims at the start of the first foreign visit of his pontificate. . . .
"With deep joy I find myself for the first time after my election to the Chair of Peter in my beloved homeland, in Germany," Benedict said in a speech after being officially welcomed by President Horst Koehler.
- Plenty of photos of World Youth Day and the arrival of Pope Benedict via YahooNews. (I've got EWTN's coverage taping as we speak).
- Amy Welborn notes the difficulties w. transportation and crowd-control -- A German recipe for sardines -- and takes account of the mixed reports by the press:
in between stories of mob scenes, I also read stories of young people being challenged in the catechesis given by bishops, of appreciating the opportunities for Adoration and Reconciliation. So we'll hope and pray, that in the end, for these young people, the good experiences outweigh the difficulties.
And is WYD for everyone? Is it heaven on earth? Of course not. When you get half a million youth together, you have a riot of mixed motives, of raging hormones, conflicting personalities and intensity. Take your local youth group or religious ed class and multiply by hundreds of thousands. I do think you'd find a higher proportion of seriously engaged youth at WYD, simply because of the trouble it takes to make the trip, but at the same time, there's probably a good party vibe going on - in the context of exhaustion and discomfort.
- Reporting from Cologne, Germany, John Allen Jr. posts the first of a series of daily reports from World Youth Day, including this bit of trivia:
A bit of trivia: Why is this event called "World Youth Day" even though it's almost a week long?
The answer is that the idea for World Youth Day was born in 1983, when John Paul II invited youth from around the world to join him in Rome on Palm Sunday. The first event staged under the title of "World Youth Day" was in 1986, again on Palm Sunday. As the event evolved, it rapidly outgrew its original one-day program, but by that stage the name had stuck.
One other note: In Vatican argot, "youth" refers to anyone between the ages of 16 and 30. Hence "World Youth Day" is not designed for young children, who for the most part are discouraged from attending. Official communiqués from the German organizers warn that anyone under 16 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian, or, in lieu of that, the sponsoring diocese, parish or organization's group leaders must assume full responsibility. Special forms have to be filled out for minors who wish to come.
EWTN had some great footage of past World Youth Day events this morning, wonderful moments of John Paul II capturing his sense of humor -- moments which bring a tear to the eye. Perhaps he is even now smiling and watching, as his successor carries on his tradition, visiting with the future generation of our Church.
- "We have seen the Peace of Christ, and it is glorious in our eyes" - The blog Excessive Catholicism has some great photos of the Pope's trip on the Rhine along with commentary.
- The Real United Nations - Tim Jones (posting to Jimmy Akin):
It struck me while watching coverage of World Youth Day in Cologne that, as you look out over the vast crowd with flags flying from virtually every country on Earth, you are seeing the real United Nations. The Catholic church is truly catholic.
For the most part the United Nations that we all know from the newspapers is a group of mutually suspicious, grudging, scheming members united mainly in their desire to get a larger piece of the pie. They are united in the same way that hyenas are united around a carcass.
By contrast World Youth Day shows us a gathering of people who come together spontaneously, joyfully, with no greater desire than to demonstrate their love for Christ by showing love for one another. It is easy to sense, even through the satellite feed, that they are united in their love for their Papa and the One he represents.
- Tim Drake on the final Mass at Marienfeld:
Despite the over-produced music that smacked of "look at what we can do" rather than "let's reflect on the mystery of God," the Mass was an incredible experience - hearing so many youth responding in each of their languages. It was also incredible how the giant crowd went from chants and songs to absolute silence after Mass had started.
The homily was quite clear and continued to expand upon the theme that Pope Benedict started last night - that of adoration. It focused very pointedly on the Eucharist and the youth responded with cheers on several occasions.
The loudest cheers came after he said that "free time is empty if God is not present," and after he said that religion, when pushed too far, "becomes like a consumer product. People choose what they like, and some are even able to make a profit from it."
(Tim's live-blogging throughout the course of WYD has been nothing short of incredible, with on the spot reporting and many photographs. As one of many who could not make it, I offer my gratitude).
- One Million Reasons Benedict XVI Is Winning - from John Heard aka. DreadNought, celebrating the official announcement that World Youth Day 2008 Will Be In Sydney.
- Amy Welborn posts some of her favorite news photos from World Youth Day.
- A story that's already been passed on by Amy Welborn, Tim Drake and Rocco Palmo, but as the latter remarks, "it's so good it deserves a repeat" -- this from the WYD website on the papal lunch with 10 lucky youth:
Twelve young people who have been involved in the preparations for World Youth Day for quite some time now -- most of whom had interrupted their studies to do so -- were invited to eat lunch with the Pope in the seminary in Cologne on Friday. The symbolism of the occasion was not lost on the young people: just as Jesus ate the Last Supper with his disciples, so the Pope wanted to spend some time with them, talk to them, and celebrate with them.
Omelette was on the menu for the young people, and trout for the Pope. But the Holy Father declined the offer because he felt it would be too complicated to eat fish and speak at the same time. So Benedict XVI was served an omelette and nothing stood in the way of communication; not even the variety of languages spoken by the diners, because on top of everything else, the Pope proved to be an excellent interpreter.
- As mentioned previously, plenty worth reading from John Allen, Jr., covering WYD for the National Catholic Reporter:
- Report #1: Picking up where John Paul II left off. Posted Aug. 18, 2:35 p.m.
- Correspondent's Notebook #1: Who attends World Youth Day?; Benedict arrives; Condolences to Taizé; WYD trivia and Americans in Cologne; Visa problems; Security issues; Comic relief. Posted Aug. 18, 2:35 p.m.
- Report #2: Benedict acknowledges progress, challenges in Catholic-Jewish relations; Also meets with Catholic seminarians, German Protestants. Posted Aug. 19, 12:19 p.m.
- Correspondent's Notebook #2: The pope at the synagogue; Assessing Benedict so far; The Magi pilgrims; On the papal plane; Some snags in logistics. Posted Aug. 19, 12:19 p.m.
- Report #3: Benedict uses meeting with Muslims to condemn terrorism. Posted Aug. 20, 12:54 p.m. Updated at 4:56 p.m.
- Correspondent's Notebook #3: Cardinal Pell sums up youth day message; Aussies prepare for 2008; Sant'Egidio community in Cologne; Contemplating WYD without a pope; Synagogue visit reaction. Posted Aug. 20, 12:54 p.m.
- Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the Jews of Cologne was a historic one -- "The Jewish community in Cologne is the oldest in Germany, with a history which stretches back 2000 years," according to Kirsten Serup-Bilfeld (Deutsche Welle August 19, 2005), providing the background for the tragic history of Jewish-Christian relations that the Church is only recently amending. Pope Benedict XVI also became First Pope to Visit a Synagogue in Germany, the other being his predecessor, John Paul II in Rome, 1986.
- While I'm at it -- a Roundup of my brother's posts from WYD:
- Cologne Day 1 - Arrival in Cologne; attending Mass with bishops Skylstad (Spokane), Sheridan (Colorado Springs), and Zurek (San Antonio auxiliary) -- Sheridan "is a hulking beast of a man, with shoulders as broad as a gorilla and a frat boy haircut, and a glance that lets you know he could kill you in less than three seconds. But quite cordial."
- Cologne Day 2 - passing himself off as a seminarian (to attend meeting w. B16); receiving the chalice at Mass from Msgr. Fay, General Secretary of the USCCB; admiration for the coffeeshop and vocation work run by the Legionaires of Christ ("No site at WYD is as successful. They blatantly promote priestly vocations, parade their priests around, and push (literally) the kids into confession booths, and the kids respond en masse."); visiting the Cologne Cathedral and an unusual dinner experience ("When you order food in Germany, make sure you ask the waiter whether or not the meal is served in gelatin form").
- Cologne Day 3 - visiting various catechetical sites around the WYD area; noting the youth's creative response to Planned Parenthood poster campaign ("from the hour the pilgrims started arriving, the posters started coming down. Most pilgrims ripped selectively, crossways and upwards, to tear out the shape of a cross across the posters. Others took the whole things down. . . . By the end of the first day, nothing was left on the subways but ripped-out crosses and bare walls"); attempting to locate the tombs of Bl. Duns Scotus and St. Albert the Great and discovering the practicality of "the universal language")
- Cologne Day 4 - strategizing to get a good view of the Pope's arrival; visiting the tomb of Duns Scotus and Albertus Magnus ("Inside the church [of San Andreas] was worlds apart from any others I had visited. The Dominicans had slapped up posters on every available space, both around the entrance and over and beside every door, indicating 'SILENCIO' in every language on earth. They pulled no punches: this was no tourist spot, but a house of prayer")
- Cologne Day 5 - attending mass at St. Panteleon's church ("[security] me at the gates, priests only, but Fr. EJB called out that I was his personal 'sacristan' and he never went anywhere without me. 'Sacristan?'"); Benedict's visitation with the seminarians ("Please note: our Pontiff is short"); the vespers' service ("Through the vespers service [Benedict] remained stoic, looking straight ahead, his mouth whispering the psalms. But the seminarians clearly love him, and the energy was high"); hearing another's report on meeting Cardinal Francis Arinze ("Arinze had the kids rolling on the floor the whole time, mostly because he would heartily laugh at his own jokes every other sentence")
- Cologne Day 6 - finding an English-speaking mass in Cologne (the youth having relocated to Marienfeld); admiring the stained-glass windows of the cathedral ("These windows are epics. Around one central artistic motif, entire narratives are woven, in smaller sections of the window. In one relatively small window one can 'read' the entire life of a saint"); encountering the proselytizers ("The plaza, now nearly empty of tourists, is now filled with propagandists. Fundamentalists, anti-globalization protestors, anti-war (in Iraq) peaceniks, Falun Gong agitators, and some weird guitar-strumming love cult calling itself the 'Community of the Twelve Tribes'"); visiting the Cologne City Museum ("the traditional piety of the people of Cologne also stands out"); the wretched coverage of the BBC on WYD ("They brought one religious commentator in to explain the significance of the Holy Father's visit, and he spent five minutes discussing why the Catholic Church's position on gay sex was self-contradictory").
- Heroes & Goats: WYD 2005 from Rocco Palmo (Whispers in the Loggia).
- After Cologne: The Remarkable Lesson of Professor Ratzinger, by Sandro Magister. www.chiesa August 25, 2005. On April 20, his first morning as Pope, Benedict XVI said "the Eucharist will be the centre of the World Youth Day in Cologne in August.” Providing a wonderful recap of the week's events (on and off camera), Magister believes he delivered on his promise:
From August 18-21 in Cologne, Benedict XVI did not bestow upon the crowd a mere theatrical gesture, or nothing more than a striking phrase. He led the young people to look, not at him, but always and only at the true protagonist: that Jesus whom the Magi adored in Bethlehem, the “House of Bread,” and who is now concealed in the consecrated host.
Read on for details on the Pope's meetings with Jews at the Cologne synagogue (in which he urged "progress towards a theological evaluation of the relationship between Judaism and Christianity") and the Muslim community ("no pope had ever been so explicit and hard-hitting in facing the question of terrorism on a personal level").
- Opus Dei Prelate on a Springtime for Church in Germany (Part 1) interview with Opus Dei, Bishop Javier Echevarría. [Part 2] August 24-25, 2005.
- "Young People Relaunched . . . the Message of Hope" reflections on his first foreign apostolic trip to Germany, for World Youth Day. August 24, 2005.