July 11, 2007
Pope Invites Young People to Sydney
Says He Is Eagerly Anticipating World Youth Day
VATICAN CITY, JULY 4, 2007 ( Zenit.org ).- Benedict XVI is encouraging young people to prepare well for the World Youth Day to be held next July in Australia.
The Pope concluded today's general audience with a special exhortation to young people, telling them that the youth gathering will be a spiritual renewal that will benefit all of society.
"One year from now we will meet at World Youth Day in Sydney!" the Holy Father said. "I want to encourage you to prepare well for this marvelous celebration of the faith, which will be spent in the company of your bishops, priests, religious, youth leaders and one another. Enter fully into the life of your parishes and participate enthusiastically in diocesan events! In this way you will be equipped spiritually to experience new depths of understanding of all that we believe when we gather in Sydney next July.
"A sense of awe and eager anticipation also describes how we feel as we make preparations to meet in Sydney."
The Pontiff acknowledged that for many, the trip to Australia will be a long journey.
"Yet Australia and its people evoke images of a warm welcome and wondrous beauty, of an ancient aboriginal history and a multitude of vibrant cities and communities," he said. "I know that already the ecclesial and government authorities, together with numerous young Australians, are working very hard to ensure an exceptional experience for us all. I offer them my heartfelt thanks."
Benedict XVI told the youth that the celebration is "much more than an event." He affirmed that "it is a time of deep spiritual renewal, the fruits of which benefit the whole of society. Young pilgrims are filled with the desire to pray, to be nourished by Word and sacrament, to be transformed by the Holy Spirit, who illuminates the wonder of the human soul and shows the way to be 'the image and instrument of the love which flows from Christ.'
"It is this love -- Christ's love -- for which the world yearns. Thus you are called by so many to 'be his witnesses.'"
The Pope told the youth to bring their friends who are searching for truth.
"Some of you have friends with little real purpose in their lives, perhaps caught up in a futile search for endless new experiences," he said. "Bring them to World Youth Day too! In fact, I have noticed that against the tide of secularism many young people are rediscovering the satisfying quest for authentic beauty, goodness and truth. Through your witness you help them in their search for the Spirit of God. Be courageous in that witness! Strive to spread Christ's guiding light, which gives purpose to all life, making lasting joy and happiness possible for everyone.
"My dear young people, until we meet in Sydney, may the Lord protect you all. Let us entrust these preparations to Our Lady of the Southern Cross, Help of Christians. With her, let us pray: 'Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and enkindle in them the fire of your love.'"