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Speech of Father Georg Austen
Monaco January 21st 2005

First of all, thank you very much for the invitation and the hospitality that we are experiencing these days in your country. Conversations and meetings about World Youth Day with representatives and young people are most important and impress me very much.

I am also pleased to bring you warm greetings from the World Youth Day office in Cologne and from the German Bishops' Conference.
As we say "Guests are a blessing", we hope to be good hosts during the Days of Encounter in the German dioceses, as well as at the XX World Youth Day in Cologne in August of this year. We are glad and thankful that the responsible people in your country are very dedicated to the spiritual and organisational preparation of the days in Bayreuth and Cologne and that they also receive good support.
At the international conference in the beginning of January, your delegation brought a bit of earth from your country, just as many delegations from other countries did. This earth was collected at the Marienfeld, where we will celebrate mass with the Holy Father and thousands of young people. The gesture symbolises that we all live on this earth and that at this global event, the faith experiences of people from all over the world will flow together.
We want to celebrate our faith with young people from all nations of the world. Just as the Three Magi, the Three Holy Kings, as they are called and worshipped in Cologne, young people leave with the questions in their lives, to meet Christ and to make Him the centre of their lives. Pope John Paul II has given this World Youth Day the motto: "We have come, to worship HIM" (Matthew 2,2). He puts great trust in young people and wants to shape the Church and the world by communicating with them. He also encourages young people and challenges them to discover their calling and testify their faith through their lives.

As it was at the past World Youth Days, we will have the possibility in Germany to experience a worldwide and caring Church, linked together by a common faith. The meetings and encounters that cross all linguistic, cultural and national barriers, should become an enrichment to all participants and a testimony for all people. World Youth Day will take place in a country with a long Christian tradition. However, it will also be held in the homeland of the Reformation and in a country with a complex history. After East and West suffered a horrible separation, they have been growing closer together in line with other European countries that are becoming more and more united.

The Holy Father explicitly invited all interested young people that are searching for a deeper meaning in their lives to World Youth Day. To me, the meetings between young people are a valuable contribution to the respect for other nations and a step towards peace and recognising the good in each other.

They say that the Three Magi, the Wise Men from the East, went home by a different road. We also hope that the young people will return to their countries and homes as changed personalities: Strengthened in their faith, encouraged in their lives and able to create a world showing solidarity in the spirit of Christ. The same goes for Germany. Hopefully, World Youth Day will change all those who participate in it, for: "Guests are a blessing". And in this regard, I can assure you: Welcome in Germany, Bienvenue en Allemagne!

Audience avec Son Excellence Monsieur Patrick LECLERCQ, Ministre d’Etat de la Principauté de Monaco.