World Youth Day - News


Rome, 21 (NE) On Saturday the prayer vigil that preceded the Pope’s Mass with the youth took place. Approximately two million young people participated at this memorable day. With songs and applauses they expressed their love to Pope John Paul II and their overwhelming joy for encountering Christ. This has been the greatest gathering that has taken place in Rome ever.

The Holy Father arrived in helicopter and then saluted the youth in his “Pope mobile” until he reached the stage where he was to preside the event. During the vigil a the memory of the apostles and some Christian martyrs was remembered. Then 4 young people shared their witness of encounter with the Lord. Towards the end, the Pope gave the Gospel by St. Mark to representatives of the five continents. A communitarian profession of faith was then made.

The Pope, clearly moved by the vitality of the faith of the young multitude, shared with them some reflections. “Dear friends”, he said, “to believe in Christ today, to follow Jesus as Peter, Thomas, and the first Apostles and witnesses did, demands of us, just as it did in the past, that we take a stand for him, almost to the point at times of a new martyrdom: the martyrdom of those who, today as
yesterday, are called to go against the tide in order to follow the divine Master… “Perhaps,” added the Pope, “you will not have to shed your blood, but you will certainly be asked to be faithful to Christ! faithfulness that must be lived in the circumstances of everyday life.”

After this, talking about the hunger of God that each human being experiences, he told the youth that
“it is Jesus in fact that you seek when you dream of happiness; He is waiting for you when nothing
else you find satisfies you; He is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is He who provokes you
with that thirst for fullness that will not let you settle for compromise.” The Pope also reminded them that “the various godless messianic systems which tried to take the place of Christian hope have shown themselves to be truly horrendous.” The Holy Father urged the youth not to follow this ways but those of the Lord Jesus.

Towards the end of his intervention, the Pope told the “young people of the century now beginning” that “in saying ´yes´ to Christ you say ´yes´ to all your noblest ideals… Do not be afraid of entrusting yourselves to Him. He will guide you, He will grant you the strength to follow Him every day and in every situation,” he added.

“May Mary Most Holy,” prayed the Pope at the end, “the Virgin who said ´yes´ to God throughout her whole life, may Saints Peter and Paul and all the Saints who have lighted the Church’s journey down the ages, keep you always faithful to this holy resolve.”


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