2004-12-13 GERMANY

World Youth Cross at Maristenkolleg, Mindelheim

In 1984 Pope John Paul II handed over to the youth of the world a simple wooden cross, some three metres high. Since then it has journeyed all over the world, along with an icon of Mary.
It has stopped at slums and prisons, day schools and boarding schools, parishes and dioceses, indeed wherever it found a welcome. Throughout this year it has wandered all over the lands of Germany, in preparation for the World Youth Day in Köln, 2005.
On Palm Sunday 2003, the Pope handed over the World Youth Cross in Rome to the young people of Germany, with the words: Young brothers and sisters, I ask you: look at this Cross, come close to it, so that you can recognise with what wonderful love our Lord has loved us, and has left to you with joy his work of the renewal of hearts.
On the 22nd November, this cross stopped at Mindelheim. Early in the morning it was welcomed by the boarders of the Maristenkolleg; then carried in procession to the Lourdes grotto and then to the Champagnatplatz, within the Marist grounds, and then to the school chapel. There it was erected in front of the altar, as a sign of Life.

The message of the Cross for us as Christians was portrayed in a power-point presentation, accompanied by meditative songs from the school choir, Horizonte. The theme of the morning service was John 10,10: I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
The pupils placed little candles, lit from the Paschal candle, into a bed of sand, at the foot of the cross. As a souvenir of the meeting, each pupil was given a small wooden cross and a copy of the above text as they left the church. In the course of the morning, other classes from the Maristenkolleg attended this moving ceremony. The stillness in the church indicated that both staff and pupils had absorbed the message. The Marist Youth Fire Brigade of the boarding school then processed with the cross to the girls Realschule, run be the Mary Ward Sisters, and then to the Jesuit church, where it was handed over to the Catholic schools of the town of Kaufbeuren.
From the 15th to the 21st August 2005, this cross will be the centrepiece of the World Youth Day in Köln.
Some of our Marist pupils are looking forward to seeing it again, along with hundreds of thousands of Catholic youth from across the world!

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