.- Christina Ross says she feel she fits right in at World Youth Day. She’s young, she’s faithful and she’s Lutheran. Ross, 20, is just one of many non-Catholics who have decided to participate in WYD 2005. Organizers say this WYD may have the highest number of non-Roman Catholic participants ever, however at a press conference Saturday organizers did yet have official figures.
The university student from Winnipeg, Canada, is active in her church. She said her Catholic friends were coming to World Youth Day and she wanted to take part.
“I want to grow in my faith and this is a great opportunity. We all believe in the same God,” Ross said, wearing an I Love Jesus T-shirt.
Ross attended the catechesis sessions and other WYD events and said she has grown in her faith. She is planning on attending WYD 2008, which will likely be held in Sydney, Australia.
A Pakistani, by the name of Kenny, also made the trip to WYD. He belongs to an evangelical church and has begun a ministry in Lahore focused on bringing together and strengthening Lahore’s persecuted Christian community.
“I wanted to come because I really admire Pope Benedict and I wanted to meet him,” said Kenny, who Tuesday night had just arrived and was relying on Providence to find a place to stay. Shortly after his arrival, he met a German woman who opened her home to him.
The ecumenical aspects of WYD were also evident in the number of ecumenical services, concerts and events that were held. In addition, Protestant families have hosted thousands of pilgrims. Several Protestant churches and institutions were also used for lodging and activities.
Ecumenism has also been an important theme of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Germany. In his opening address to the pilgrims Thursday, he also greeted those among them who belong to different Christian denominations and who are non-Christian.
His meeting with Christian leaders Friday was another move that demonstrated his commitment to unity.