SECURITY MEASURES A KEY
CHALLENGE FOR WORLD YOUTH DAY
VATICAN CITY, JULY 5,
2005 (Zenit.org).- Security is one the toughest
challenges of organizing World Youth Day 2005, an event
expected to attract 800,000 young people, says Cardinal
Joachim Meisner of Cologne.
During a press conference at Vatican Radio's
headquarters today, the archbishop confirmed that "those
who have registered or have paid are about 400,000, but
we will leave the office doors open up to the last day
to give the possibility to participate. For our part, we
can manage up to 2 million people."
The cardinal said that 7,000 priests and 700 bishops
will participate in the event. German families have
offered 85,000 lodgings for young people attending.
World Youth Day, scheduled for Aug. 15-21, will close
with a vigil and Mass, presided over by Benedict XVI at
the Marienfeld, in which an artificial hill has been
made with soil from all the continents.
"Cologne has been working for eight years on this
event," said Cardinal Meisner.
According to tradition, the Cologne Cathedral houses
the relics of the three Wise Men. The reliquary will be
placed behind the altar, as was the custom in the Middle
Ages, so that young people can walk under it, taking
home a special blessing, as pilgrims did in the past.
Cardinal Meisner explained that the greatest
difficulty of the organization is the need to observe
"17,000 security norms," according to German law.
"During World Youth Day 2000 here in Rome, the
Italian government suspended these dispositions for 10
days, with a gesture that I consider very humane," he
"We are being obliged to respect these security norms
and this has cost us much, as they are very expensive,"
the German cardinal said. "The Pope's present visit
costs 10 times more than John Paul II's first visit to
"The preparation has been complex from the technical
point of view, because of the security dispositions, and
from a financial point of view. But now everything has
Cardinal Meisner made an appeal to World Youth Day
participants: "You must come as the Wise Kings. Bring
other people with you; don't come alone. If we gather in
his name, Jesus will be among us. We must show the world
the face of Christ."