John Paul II Challenges Young People

Message for World Youth Day 2001

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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 15, 2001 (</a>.- John Paul II has again written a letter to young people for World Youth Day, challenging them to go beyond the world´s «logic of success and power.»

World Youth Day will be celebrated this year at the diocesan level on Palm Sunday, April 8. In his message, which was published today by the Vatican Press Office, the Pope goes right to the heart of Christianity: the figure of Jesus, «a Messiah who breaks all schemes and who is beyond all clamor, who cannot be ´understood´ with the logic of success and power, often used by the world as criteria to justify its own plans and actions.»

«Jesus is not the Messiah of triumph and power,» the papal message reads. «In fact, he did not liberate Israel from Roman domination, and did not assure it of political glory. As the true Servant of the Lord, he carried out his mission in solidarity, service and humiliation unto death.»

The topic he has chosen for this year´s World Youth Day, taken from Luke´s Gospel (9:23), is a challenge: «If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.»

Referring to last August´s World Youth Day, which drew 2 million people, the Holy Father said, «What was the 15th World Youth Day if not an intense time of contemplation of the mystery of the Word made man for our salvation?»

John Paul II adds: «The real fruits of the Youth Jubilee cannot be calculated by statistics, but only by works of love and justice, in daily faithfulness, which is precious even though often unseen. To you, dear young people, especially those who took part directly in that unforgettable meeting, I have entrusted the task to offer this consistent evangelical witness to the world.»

He continues: «At the same time I thank God because the youth have accompanied and even supported the Pope during his apostolic pilgrimage through the countries of the world.»

World Youth Days are celebrated in alternate years at the diocesan and world levels. The next world-level gathering will be in Toronto in July 2002.

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