.- During a press conference on World Youth Day 2005, which will take place in Germany in August, Cardinal Joachim Meisner of Cologne said the mission of young people attending would be “to show the face of Christ to the world.” “You must come like the Wise Men. Bring others with you, don’t come alone. If we gather in His name, Jesus will be among us. We must show the face of Christ to the world,” the cardinal said during the press conference organized by Vatican Radio.
Cardinal Meisner recalled that John Paul II had told him of his desire that one of the first World Youth Days of the third millennium be held in Cologne and that he chose Germany as a sign of hope.
The cardinal said there are currently 400,000 young people registered to attend WYD but organizers expect that number to swell to 800,000. As of now 7000 priests and 700 bishops from around the world are expected to travel to Cologne as well.
He also revealed that Pope Benedict XVI would visit the Synagogue of Cologne on August 19 as a “clear symbol” of rapprochement between Catholics and Jews. This will be the only papal event outside of WYD.
According to Cardinal Meisner, “The Holocaust is still an open wound for Germans. The Jews are not just another people for us, they are our brothers and sisters and we must act so that nothing like that ever happens again.”
This visit will make Benedict XVI the second Pontiff to visit a Jewish temple after John Paul II, who visited the Synagogue of Rome in 1986 at the invitation of Rome’s chief Rabbi, Elio Toaff.
The Nazi army destroyed the Synagogue of Cologne during the Kristallnact of 1938.