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Catholic World News News Feature

Find Christ in the Eucharist, Pope tells youth in Cologne August 18, 2005

In his first address at World Youth Day in Cologne, Pope Benedict XVI told his youthful audience, "the happiness you have a right to enjoy has a name and a face: it is Jesus of Nazareth, hidden in the Eucharist."

The Holy Father made his first appearance at the WYD ceremonies abroad a boat, the RheinEnergie, floating in the Rhine, with thousands of WYD pilgrims assembled on the river's banks.

As the boat reached the site of the gathering, the Pope greeted young people who had come on board the boat, dressed in the traditional costumes of their native lands, to represent all the nations participating in the 20th WYD celebrations. Next there was reading of the passage from St. Matthew's Gospel that describes the voyage of the Magi-- whose relics are kept in the Cologne cathedral, and whose story furnished the motto of this year's WYD: "We have come to worship Him."

When Cardinal Karl Lehmann, the president of the German bishops' conference, formally welcomed the Pontiff to Cologne, the crowd on the shores burst into applause, and eventually a papal aide had to ask for quiet so that Benedict XVI could speak.

The Pope's speech was divided into five parts, which he delivered successively in German, English, French, Spanish, and Italian. He welcomed all the young people who had assembled in Cologne-- making a special point of recognizing those "who, like the Magi, have come from the East." He also recognized "those among you who have not been baptized, and those of you who do not yet know Christ or have not yet found a home in his Church." He urged all participants to open their hearts to "meet Christ, who is waiting for you."

As he arrived at WYD, the Pope said, he was mindful of the example set by Pope John Paul II, "who had the inspired idea of calling young people from all over the world to join in celebrating Christ, the one Redeemer of the human race." This year, he continued, the world's youth are challenged by the example of the Magi, who persisted despite difficulties in their quest to find the Messiah. Today young people are also on a quest, the Pope remarked: a quest to discover meaning in life, and answers to their most profound questions.

Again like the Magi, Pope Benedict continued, young people will find their answeres in Christ. As the wise men felt awe upon meeting the Christ child, Christians should feel the awe of participation in the Eucharist, he said-- particularly during this Year of the Eucharist.

Concluding his talk, the Pope reverted to German, and said that he was proceeding to the cathedral to venerate the relics of the Magi. He reminded his young audience: "The relics of the saints are traces of that invisible but real presence which sheds light upon the shadows of the world and reveals the Kingdom of heaven in our midst."

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