Standing on the bow of cruise ship on the Rhine, the pope preached to a crowd of thousands on both sides of the riverbank, addressing his flock as well as the unbaptized. "I also greet with affection those among you who have not been baptized or who have not found a home in the church," he said, urging them to "open wide your hearts to God."
The faith should be proclaimed by believers "from this land in the heart of Europe, a Europe which owes so much to the Gospel and its witness down through the centuries," the pontiff said.
He directed much of his speech at the youth in the audience attending World Youth Day. CBS' Sabrina Castelfranco reports that the pope told the youth they will lose nothing of what makes life free, beautiful and great by letting Christ into their lives.
At the airport, the pope was greeted by shouts of "Benedict! Benedict!" from young people attending World Youth Day in Cologne. He said he was looking forward to visiting the city's synagogue, rebuilt after being destroyed by the Nazis, and to meeting with Muslim leaders.
"Visiting a synagogue is close to my heart, and also the greeting of members of the Islamic community," he said, gusts of wind ruffling his white garments and silver hair.
"These are meetings to proceed more intensively on the way of dialogue in the common effort to build a just and brotherly future," he said. "We all know how very important it is to seek this path."
The strong wind knocked off the pope's white skullcap as he got off the plane, blowing it back inside the cabin. He reached for it in vain and decided to go on with the ceremonial welcome hatless.
Winds also toppled the World Youth Day cross from the bow of the cruise ship, breaking one of its arms. The cross was first used during World Youth Day in 2000 in Rome and has been carried around the world by Catholic youth groups, including to the site of the World Trade Center attacks in New York. Workers were busy repairing it.
Pope Benedict is working to send a message particularly to young people such as Di Lallo, Author and Christianity reporter. He said in a Monday interview that he wants to communicate to young people how beautiful it is to be Christian - because it's like having wings.
"If he can come up with phrases like that, I think he'll make a hit," Hebblethwaite said.
John Paul, who founded World Youth Day as a way to evangelize young people, was still very much on people's minds, especially among those who were at his last World Youth Day appearance two years ago in Toronto. Many made their plans to come while John Paul was still alive and had hoped to see him.
Benedict landed to a subdued arrival compared to some of the greetings received by his charismatic predecessor, John Paul II. He skipped John Paul's custom of kissing the ground, and only a few hundred enthusiastic admirers were brought to the airport.
Thousands more, however, cheered as they watched on a large television screen in front of Cologne's famed cathedral, erupting in shouts as his plane landed. More than 400,000 pilgrims registered ahead of time, organizers said, and up to 1 million people are expected for an open-air Mass by Benedict on Sunday.
Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and President Horst Koehler greeted Benedict on the red carpet as he descended from the plane, which had German and Vatican flags hanging from the cockpit windows.
It is the first homecoming for Benedict since his April 19 election. He was born in Marktl Am Inn in the state of Bavaria and served as archbishop of Munich.
Benedict paid tribute to his "great and beloved predecessor" and said he was thankful to be able to address such a throng of young people.
"The meeting of so many young people with the successor of Peter is a sign of the vitality of the church," he said.
St. Peter is considered the first pope by Catholics.
Javier Ayala from Santiago, Chile, began camping out at 2 a.m. Thursday to be first in line for the security check to enter the cathedral square for Benedict's address.
"We want to welcome the pope. We want him to feel we care as much about him as we did about John Paul II," said Ayala, 19.
Peter Jauregui, 20, from Escondido, Calif., said: "I think John Paul set a great example. The new pope, I hope, will follow in his footsteps. I am hoping to see that he does."