Pope Urges Youth to Be Missionaries in the World
COLOGNE, Germany, AUG. 21, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Benedict
XVI appealed to more than 1 million young people to
become new missionaries in a world that is forgetting
In his homily at the closing Mass of World Youth Day,
the Pope said: "Anyone who has discovered Christ must
lead others to him. A great joy cannot be kept to
oneself. It has to be passed on."
The Mass, celebrated today in the Marienfeld esplanade,
some 27 kilometers (17 miles) from the center of
Cologne, ended with the ceremony to "Hand Over the
Cross" to the young people present and to give them a
"missionary sending" to all continents.
Youths "are ready to leave Cologne as young apostles of
the third millennium," said Archbishop Stanislaw Rylko,
president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, in
his address to the Pontiff at the opening of the
concluding ceremony. The Council for the Laity oversees
World Youth Days.
During his homily, Benedict XVI said that in "vast areas
of the world today there is a strange forgetfulness of
"It seems as if everything would be just the same even
without him," he continued. "But at the same time there
is a feeling of frustration, a sense of dissatisfaction
with everyone and everything.
"People tend to exclaim: 'This cannot be what life is
about!' Indeed not. And so, together with forgetfulness
of God there is a kind of new explosion of religion."
The Pope warned, however, that religion could become a
"People choose what they like, and some are even able to
make a profit from it," he said. "But religion
constructed on a 'do-it-yourself' basis cannot
ultimately help us. It may be comfortable, but at times
of crisis we are left to ourselves."
Thus the Holy Father appealed to young people gathered
in Cologne to "help people discover the true star that
points out the way to us: Jesus Christ!"
"Let us seek to know him better and better, so as to be
able to guide others to him with conviction," he stated.
Faith in community
As a means to discover and proclaim Christ, the Pope
mentioned active participation in Sunday Mass, the
sacrament of reconciliation, meditation on Scripture,
and reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church and its
recently published Compendium.
"Build communities based on faith!" exhorted Benedict
XVI. "In recent decades movements and communities have
come to birth in which the power of the Gospel is keenly
"The spontaneity of new communities is important, but it
is also important to preserve communion with the Pope
and with the bishops. It is they who guarantee that we
are not seeking private paths, but are living as God's
great family, founded by the Lord through the Twelve
Benedict XVI expressed his satisfaction with the welcome
that young people gave him. Putting his papers aside, he
thanked them at the start of the Mass, and expressed his
wish to greet them personally "one by one."
The majority of young people present had spent a cold
night on the Marienfeld, after meeting with the Pope for
a three-hour vigil. Their exhaustion, and the cold and
mist, did not stop them from greeting the Pope with