Pope Benedict bids farewell to World Youth Day pilgrims 24 August 2005

 Expressing his appreciation for the warm reception he had received, on Monday Pope Benedict XVI bade farewell to some one million pilgrims gathered at Marienfeld near Cologne.

"I thank you for the affection with which you have sustained me in these days," the Holy Father intoned to the applause of the faithful at the close of the three-hour Mass Sunday morning. "Be close to me in prayer. I ask you to walk together in unity. Always be faithful to Christ and to the Church."

The Pope gave the crowd his Apostolic Blessing before bidding the young pilgrims farewell with personal salutations in French, in English, Spanish, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, in the Tagalog language of the Philippines, in Swahili and in German.

He thanked all who had contributed to this World Youth Day, particularly the Pontifical Council for the Laity, under its President Archbishop Stanislaw Rylko, assisted by Council Secretary Bishop Josef Clemens. The Holy Father also thanked the German Bishops' Conference, first among them his host, Cardinal Joachim Meisner, the Archbishop of Cologne; as well as the political and administrative authorities involved in organizing the week's events. The Pope also expressed his thanks to the large numbers of volunteers who had taken part, and to the many monasteries and convents involved.

Benedict announced once again, this time officially and to cheering by the pilgrims, that the next World Youth Day would be held in 2008 in Sydney, Australia.

Source: WJD

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