Diocese of Rockville Centre

ROCKVILLE CENTRE, NEW YORK, August 3, 2005 - Approximately 400 young people from the Diocese of Rockville Centre will travel to Cologne, Germany and join approximately 800,000 young people, 600 bishops and one pope for World Youth Day 2005. Bishop William Murphy, bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, will join the Long Island contingent.

In August 2004, Pope John Paul II invited young people of the world to come to Germany and attend the 20th World Youth Day from August 11-21, 2005. The motto of this World Youth Day is taken from the St. Matthew’s Gospel: “We have come to worship Him.” Pope Benedict XVI will appear in person at this festival of faith.

“Pilgrims to Cologne are going to World Youth Day to see the Holy Father, be confirmed in their faith, meet new people and, most of all, worship the Lord,” said Bishop Murphy.

The pre-week activities called “Days in the Diocese” will be held throughout Germany from August 11-15. The actual World Youth Day activities will take place from Tuesday, August 16 through Sunday, August 21, when the closing Mass with the Holy Father will be celebrated.

“World Youth Day is not a vacation, it’s much more important. It is a spiritual journey, a time to reconnect with Jesus, a time to share your faith, a time to renew your commitment to Christ. It can be a life-changing event,” said Michael McCarthy, director of Youth Ministry, Diocese of Rockville Centre.

The program for World Youth Day is a diverse collection of over 500 events that openly encourage participation. Groups and artists from 41 nations will be represented and will enrich the major festivals, small concerts, social discussion forums and national meetings. Numerous decentralized events will bring the spirit and culture of World Youth Day to the three cities in the region involved in this major event (Cologne, Bonn and Dusseldorf).

“There is something very powerful about a gathering of the world community,” said McCarthy, “You really get a sense of the universality of the Church. World Youth Day is a celebration of our faith and the practice of that faith as we commit ourselves to justice throughout the world.”

The diocesan contingent will bring to Cologne the Diocesan World Youth Day Crucifix and a banner signed by those who attended the August 2004 diocesan Youth Fest. The crucifix was a gift to the diocese from Bishop Christopher Cardone of the Solomon Islands. It was blessed by Bishop Murphy during the concluding Mass for Youth Fest and has been shared with parishes, schools and youth groups across Long Island.

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About The Diocese of Rockville Centre
The Diocese of Rockville Centre was formed in 1957 and covers 1,222 square miles in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. The diocese serves approximately 1.4 million Catholics (total population in both counties is approximately 3.3 million). There are 134 parishes in 115 towns. Last year over 20,000 baptisms, 18,000 confirmations, 20,000 first communions and 5,000 marriages took place in the diocese. There are 2,137 students in Catholic kindergarten, 23,825 in primary or elementary school, 12,628 in secondary school and 3,300 in higher institutions. There are 76 Catholic elementary and high schools and one Catholic college in the diocese. Catholic Health Services of Long Island consists of five hospitals, three nursing homes, two home-care agencies, two senior housing complexes, a community-based home for those with special needs and a hospice. Last year, Catholic Charities assisted more than 80,000 individuals who are poor, vulnerable and disadvantaged on Long Island. For more information, visit www.drvc.org


Sean P. Dolan,
Diocese of Rockville Centre
516-678-5800, ext. 625
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