WORLD YOUTH DAY 2005 - COLOGNE, GERMANY
The 20th World Youth Day 2005 was a Catholic youth festival that started on August 16 and continued until August 21, 2005 in Cologne, Germany. It was the first World Youth Day and foreign trip of Pope Benedict XVI, who joined the festival on August 18. This meeting was decided by the previous pope, John Paul II, during the Toronto World Youth Day of 2002. The theme was "We have come to worship Him" (from Matthew 2:2).
About 400,000 young people from 200 countries attended during the week, and more than 1,000,000 came for the weekend. They were joined by about 600 bishops and cardinals, as well as by 6,600 reporters.
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Hundreds of thousands of Catholic pilgrims camped overnight in a field outside Cologne awaiting the open-air Mass from Pope Benedict XVI which wrapped up his first foreign visit since his election.
The Pope energised a crowd of some 800,000 pilgrims in a service where he highlighted the need for Christians to embrace their religion.
"It is not ideologies that save the world, but only a return to the living God, our creator, the guarantor of our freedom, the guarantor of what is really good and true," the 78-year-old pontiff told the pilgrims gathered in the vast Marienfeld near the village of Kerpen.
"True revolution consists in simply turning to God who is the measure of what is right and who at the same time is everlasting love. And what could ever save us apart from love?"
As he spoke atop the altar mount, the flags of almost 200 nations were waved among the crowd.
During his four-day visit to his homeland, centred around World Youth Day celebrations, the Pope made a point of stressing the importance of cross-faith cooperation.
After meeting with Jewish leaders at a synagogue on Friday, he joined Muslim leaders on Saturday, urging them to join with Christians in trying to combat the spread of terrorism worldwide.
He said Muslim leaders had a "great responsibility" in properly educating their younger generations.
"I am certain that I echo your own thoughts when I bring up as one of our concerns the spread of terrorism," he said.
"Terrorist activity is continually recurring in various parts of the world, sowing death and destruction, and plunging many of our brothers and sisters into grief and despair," he said.