.- In his concluding address, Archbishop Stanislaw Rylko expressed gratitude for the “unforgettable memory of the Servant of God, Pope John Paul II, who gave World Youth Day to the Church. “His presence could be felt and almost touched during these past few days,” he said to the cheers of the young crowd.
The president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity thanked Pope Benedict XVI for having presided at the international youth event and presented the multitude of young pilgrims, saying: “These are young people proud to be Christians, which means disciples of Christ the Master! Here before you, is the youthful Church, a Church full of hope and missionary energy!”
He spoke of the impact of the international gathering on Cologne, Europe and the Church. “Felix Colonia! …Never in your long history have you seen such an impressive demonstration of faith,” he said.
“Felix Europa! … In these young Christians you rediscover the memory of the roots with which you were born, roots that have woven the fabric of your deepest identity and that are the guarantee of your future.
“Felix Ecclesia! … In your children you show the world your ever youthful face.”
At the end of WYD, the archbishop said, the young people are ready to be sent out to the world to witness to Christ. “They are all ready to depart from Cologne as the young apostles of the third millennium,” he said.
The Pope then conducted a short ceremony with the WYD 2005 logo, sending the young people on mission, to return to their native lands and to witness to the Gospel with their lives.