Posted On 3. August 2016 In WYD2016

The faded stars in Cologne

By Sarah-Leah Pimentel •

The article “On the Move with Trust in GOD” brought tears to my eyes. The article says that a candle with the World Youth Day symbol was burning in the shrine. And then I saw the photograph. It was not the symbol of WYD2016, it was the symbol of WYD2005, which took place in Cologne, Germany that year. The motto that year was “We have come to worship him.” And the five stars that greeted the young people who came to Cologne that year are still there.

Eleven years later the faded stars are still a testimony

The faded stars probably sum up that entire year. You see, I was a volunteer in Schoenstatt to prepare for the Youth Festival, a gathering of the International Schoenstatt Youth before we all joined the rest of the Catholic youth of the world to celebrate the World Youth Day with Pope Benedict in Cologne. As volunteers we made contributions to the capital of grace and each contribution became a star. Those stars filled three large stars and those became a crown that we crowned our MTA as the Queen of the Youth of the World.

And so, eleven years later, the faded stars still are still a testimony to that incredible moment that marked the lives of thousands of Schoenstatt youth, and especially marked the lives of twenty young people from eight different countries. They gave a year of their lives, so that others would be able to come and testify that yes, this is our God, this is our faith. The 2005 WYD symbol still burns in the Schoenstatt shrine at Cologne. The Blessed Mother is STILL the Queen of the Youth of the World!

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The message of World Youth Day 2016 in times of terror and nationalism

Everything we do leaves its mark. And the impact of our acts of faith, great or small, live on even after we have forgotten them. Eleven years ago we stood with our flags and our songs and our joy in Cologne to celebrate our diverse cultures. This year Cologne entered the new year witnessing acts of intolerance and fear.

Today Germany, Europe, the world need to remember that unless we can reach out in greater solidarity, and open the doors of our churches and the doors of our hearts, our flags will stand as a sign of division instead of a symbol of unity.

This is why WYD2016 sent a strong message to the world. The young people said: we are not afraid. We will come to worship, but we will do more than that. We will worship by building bridges. We will worship by encountering a stranger who becomes a friend. In a few days, there will be nothing left in Campus Misercordiae that reveals that more than 1.5 million people gathered to worship and to pray for a world that is more merciful.

But who knows, maybe ten or eleven years from now, someone will find some small symbol left buried beneath the ground..and they will remember that in this place, young people once built a bridge in a world of walls.

Grace for the world.

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Fotos: Fischer, Denis

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