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» 08/17/2005
Young Indians in Cologne: "We are here to show the vibrancy of our faith".
by Nirmala Carvalho

At the WYD, groups of young Indians are meeting different cultures and traditions.  A small non-Catholic delegation is also present as proof of "peaceful multi-cultural coexistence".

Cologne (AsiaNews) – Indian youths are taking part in World Youth Day in Cologne "to directly experience the traditions of different peoples" and to "show the vibrancy of the Catholic faith in our country".

In an interview with AsiaNews, Fr Alwyn D'Souza, executive secretary of the Youth Commission of the Indian Bishops' Conference (CBCI) said: "The Commission is leading a 220-member delegation representing the 12 regions of the church in India and including regional representatives, priests and nuns. 11 August was Family Day and it was very interesting for us Indians to experience the traditions and the cultural diversity of different peoples." Fr D'Souza said the first official group, composed of 106 people, left India on 4 August while the second reached Germany on 7 August.

According to Albert Romanto, the secretary of the Indian Catholic Youth Movement (ICYM), the event is an opportunity to "show the vibrancy of the Catholic faith" in India. Many youths met up in New Delhi before heading for Cologne to rehearse ethnic and tribal dances and songs and to try on traditional costumes which they took to Germany to enable other participants to understand "the colours and cultural variety" of India.

Mr K. John, one of the youths attending the WYD is 28 years old and he comes from the north-east diocese of Imphal. He "prepared himself with much attention" before leaving because the visit to Cologne is "not merely a trip".

"It should be a pilgrimage where I will have the chance to know myself better, to have an experience and thus to improve my contribution to the diocese where I come from." Catherine Geeta is 25 years and she comes from the diocese of Jalandhar in the north of the country. For her, the WYD is a great opportunity to meet people and to understand different cultures of the planet. Jennifer Fernandes, 24 years, is from Bombay. She says she is "curious and wanting to learn about the ways in which youths from around the whole world live their faith".

There will be many Indian youths in Cologne who are not travelling with official groups. The Jesus Youth, a movement born in the province of Kerala has sent 150 youths to Germany. CC Manoj, organization spokesperson, said the youths have defined the trip as a "pilgrimage of faith" because on 21 August, after the WYD draws to a close, they will stop by in Rome, Lourdes and other places of pilgrimage in Europe.

Not all Indian delegates are Catholic: a group of three women – one Christian, one Hindu and the other Muslim – have arrived from the western province of Gujarat. Fr Cedric Prakash, a Jesuit who runs a centre for human rights in India is the main sponsor of this modest delegation. "An exclusively Christian presence would not be a proper representation of India. We want other nations to understand how even a multi-cultural co-existence like ours can be united and peaceful."

On the night of 17 august, a group composed of 45 delegates from the Neo-Catechumen movement will leave India. Sheldon Miranda, one of the participants, has already taken part in the WYD in Manila, Paris and Rome. He said: "When John Paul II died, I was devastated, for me his death was a personal loss. Since the election of Benedict XVI, I have a renewed desire to see him and hear him speak. I pray that he has the same charisma as his predecessor because I am already in awe of his intellectual prowess."

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See also
08/11/2005 LEBANON - WYD
WYD 2005: Mexican-Lebanese youths in Cologne and in search of their roots
08/10/2005 PHILIPPINES - WYD
300 Filipinos leaving for Cologne
08/18/2005 GEORGIA - WYD
Georgian youth at WYD but back home, their situation is deteriorating
08/10/2005 NEPAL - WYD
Getting visas for six Nepalese youths to attend the WYD proves complicated
08/11/2005 LEBANON - WYD
Minister Ahmed Fatfat: Lebanon needs its youths to be reborn
by Youssef Hourany
From Cologne hopes for Church unity in China
Sydney 2008: for the evangelisation of Asia
The grand Vigil of Cologne: feasting, prayer, adoration
Baghdad youth write to the Pope about WYD
iraq - wyd
Letter from Mosul: the WYD afar from Cologne, near to the Pope's heart
Card. Toppo: "Criticism against the pope swept away by the youths in Cologne"
Two young Uzbeks also attend World Youth Day
Georgian youth at WYD but back home, their situation is deteriorating
Pakistani Catholic youth do not get visas for WYD
Young Thais in Cologne to bear witness to the faith of South-East Asia
WYD: 1000 youths from Russia have already reached Germany
En route to Cologne, Cambodian youths pray for Italians: "They have forgotten their faith".
Two young Iraqi men stranded in Jordan on their way to Cologne
Minister Ahmed Fatfat: Lebanon needs its youths to be reborn
WYD 2005: Mexican-Lebanese youths in Cologne and in search of their roots
WYD: The first time ever for China's underground Church
Mel Gibson's 'Passion' at the next World Youth Day?
300 Filipinos leaving for Cologne
Getting visas for six Nepalese youths to attend the WYD proves complicated
Chinese youths visit the pope before heading for World Youth Day
At least 400,000 registered for World Youth Day
The Pope wants to meet Jews and Muslims in Cologne

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