Speech of Father Georg Austen
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 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!