Vatican City, Jul 18, 2005 / 22:00 pm
In 1997, Pope John Paul II told Cologne’s Cardinal Joachim Meisner that he thought it appropriate “that one of the first World Youth Days of the new millennium should be held in Cologne…because last century Germany witnessed some terrible disasters for humanity, and it is right that it should now witness a great sign of hope."
With his words in Toronto in 2002, announcing that the next World Youth Day would be held in Cologne, John Paul set in motion the events which would bring over 1 million young people, accompanied by some 7,000 priests and 700 bishops to Germany.
Established in 1984, the Holy Year of Redemption, in an effort to reaffirm the Church's interest in youth, World Youth Day has been celebrated 19 times, gathering throngs of young people from around the world to hear the Gospel message.
This year‘s theme will be: "We have come to worship Him," the words with which the Wise Men of the Gospel of St. Matthew reveal the reason for their own pilgrimage. Pope John Paul noted in 2002 that, “In the great cathedral of Cologne the relics of the Magi, the Wise Men from the East who followed the star which led them to Christ, are honored."