The secretary-general of the World Youth Day organisational committee in Cologne, prelate Dr Heiner Cook announced that the colleagues and collaborators of the WYD Office are in sadness, prayer and mourning at the death of Pope John Paul II. He said that with the death of Pope John Paul II the world loses one of its largest champions. The Pope developed and established the wonderful phenomenon of the World Youth Days and they became one of the central elements of his Pontificate. It was the Holy Father's expressed desire to be present in Cologne with the youth of the world in August 2005. "On 2nd April 2005 when God called the Pope to Himself, the youth of the world personally lost a dear friend," said Matthias Kopp of the WYD office in Cologne. He said that the Cologne World Youth Day as well as "future World Youth Days will preserve and honour the memory of Pope John Paul II". The WYD office will continue its work of preparation for the World Youth Day event in Cologne under the blessing of the deceased Pope.
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