VATICAN, Aug. 16 (CWNews.com) -- On Wednesday, August 16, the young people who have
gathered in Rome for World Youth Day heard the first of some 160 talks and meditations that have
been scheduled for this week.
Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger of Paris delivered the first catechetical talk, speaking in the Church of
St. Ambrose and St. Charles in central Rome. He spoke in French, on the theme: "Emmanuel, God
with us." After his talk, Cardinal Lustiger remarked to a reporter that World Youth Day was "a great
gift of renewal" for the Church. Remarking on the number of youngsters from France who had come
to Rome, he said that this was "a measure of the fruitfulness of World Youth Day in Paris in 1997."
English-speaking pilgrims gathered in the Olympic Stadium in northeastern Rome to hear Philadelphia's
Cardinal Joseph Bevilacqua speak. "We represent the only religion on earth that puts its faith in a
living person," the American cardinal remarked. Just outside the ancient catacombs, Cardinal Severino
Poletto of Turin spoke in Italian, while at another church nearby Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini of Milan
did the same. Meanwhile, thousands of young people began to assemble at the Castel Sant'Angelo to
make their individual pilgrimages to St. Peter's tomb. Beginning as early as 6 AM, and following a tight
schedule, the young pilgrims walked over the long bridge connecting to the Vatican, stopping along the
way to pray or read passages from the Gospel. In silence-- except for the quiet hymns piped in
through loudspeakers-- they made their way to St. Peter's Basilica, through the Holy Doors. Each
young pilgrim carried a "pilgrim's sack" which had been furnished by the World Youth Day organizers.
The small bags contained bottles of water, readings from the Gospel, and explanations of the traditions,
symbols, and purposes of the Jubilee celebration. Each bag held identical contents, except that the
written material was furnished in different languages, and the bags were color-coded for the different