World Youth Day organizers abandon ex-airfield as closing Mass site
Published: August 18, 2004
COLOGNE, Germany (CNS) -- The organizers of World Youth Day 2005 have abandoned plans to hold the event's closing Mass on the site of a former airfield near the town of Sankt Augustin. The local branch of the international environmental organization Friends of the Earth had criticized the decision to use the former airfield. The activists said the closing Mass, which could draw a million young people, would cause irreparable damage to the nature reserve and biotopes that are part of the 400-acre site. The Aug. 21, 2005, Mass is scheduled to be attended by Pope John Paul II and will be the culmination of 10 days of events in the Cologne Archdiocese and around Germany. In a statement issued in mid-August, World Youth Day organizers said the former airfield had been discarded as the site as a result of the court case brought by Friends of the Earth to prevent bomb-disposal teams from working in the nature reserve. The teams were needed because of fears that there might be unexploded World War II bombs on the site.
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