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Sunday, 4 April 2004

19th World Youth Day
"We wish to see Jesus"
(Jn 12: 21)



1. I address a cordial greeting to you, Bishop Franz-Josef Hermann Bode, in charge of youth ministry, and to those who have taken part in the solemn liturgical celebration in Berlin at which Cardinal Sterzinsky presided. I warmly thank both you and the representative of the young people for your words addressed to me.

I then greet with great joy you young Germans who, with your leaders and chaplains, have gathered closely around the Cross which has journeyed through numerous European countries. The Cross will now set out again, travelling through your Country to reach Cologne, where the 20th World Youth Day will be celebrated in August 2005. I encourage the entire Church in Germany to prepare for this great event.

2. Before concluding, I would now like to address a cordial greeting to all the pilgrims present here. I offer a special greeting to you, dear young people who have been celebrating the eighth International Youth Forum, organized by the Pontifical Council for the Laity. I am likewise delighted to greet the rector and lecturers present at the Forum, as well as the Bishops, priests and lay persons involved in the university apostolate. Lastly, I extend a cordial welcome to the young Romans and those from other parts of the world who have gathered in Rome for Holy Week. I invoke upon you all the maternal protection of Mary.

Dear young people, before the Angelus, I thank you for your joyful and promising presence. I assure you that you will always be welcome at the Pope's House. God bless and protect you!


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