WASHINGTON (August 2, 2005) — More than 125 college, diocesan and parish groups will work on social action projects in Germany with young people from German dioceses during the Days of Encounter, a pre-World Youth Day program, August 8-15.
Among them are young people in the diocesan group from the Diocese of New Ulm, Minnesota, who will travel with Bishop John C. Nienstedt of New Ulm and connect with youth in the German city of Ulm-Neu Ulm in the Diocese of Rottenberg-Stuttgart.
More than 2,700 young people make up these groups which include students from three Jesuit-sponsored universities: Regis University in Denver, Georgetown University in Washington, and Loyola-Marymount University in Los Angeles. Students from the University of St. Thomas, in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, also will participate. More than 20 German dioceses will host the American visitors.
Dioceses with a significant number of pilgrims who will be part of the Days of Encounter include the Archdioceses of Miami, St. Louis, San Antonio and Seattle; and the Dioceses of Burlington ,Vermont; Cheyenne, Wyoming; Dallas, Texas; Forth Worth, Texas; Lansing, Michigan; Lincoln, Nebraska; San Jose, California; Springfield, Massachusetts and Syracuse, New York.
According to World Youth Day organizers in Cologne, the Days of Encounter will provide an opportunity for visitors and their hosts to get to know one another and to exchange ideas. In the midst of Days of Encounter, on August 12, Germany will celebrate Under Construction: Help Build a World in Justice. The day calls for groups who work with youth throughout Germany, including parishes, associations, and religious congregations, to combine efforts in social action projects. Planned projects include excursions with people with disabilities, organizing a soccer tournament with young asylum seekers, gardening for welfare institutions, making wooden toys with children, singing at senior citizens residences, creating a trout hatchery, and putting on sketches about peace and justice.
World Youth Day, which was founded 20 years ago by Pope John Paul II, brings together young adults and the pope for days of prayer, catechesis and celebration. About 24,000 young people and 72 bishops from the United States plan to attend the event, August 16-21, in Cologne.
More information about World Youth Day can be found at www.wydusa.org.