German bishops hopeful John Paul II will preside at World Youth Day in Cologne

The Bishops Conference of Germany expressed hope this week that Pope John Paul II will visit Cologne in August of 2005 to preside at World Youth Day.

During their fall assembly, the German bishops said they were hopeful the Pope’s health would allow him to visit the country.

Cardinal Joachim Meisner, Archbishop of Cologne, said the Pope’s health is currently “stable” and that nothing would be better for his health than a gathering with young people from around the world.

The Cardinal said World Youth Day is the most important event for Cologne “since the arrival of the three wise men,” whose remains are entombed at the Archdiocesan Cathedral.

The President of the Conference, Cardinal Karl Lehmann, recalled that the gathering would be open to “all young people of good will.”

He emphasized that “the meeting is a Catholic festivity,” but “the Pope wants it to be open to young people of other confessions.”

800,000 young people are expected to attend the event next August 11-21 in Cologne.

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