Young Romans Hear a Papal Promotion for Youth Day 2002

Holy Father Engages in a Bit of Publicity During Parish Visit

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 11, 2001 ( John Paul II visited yet another Roman parish this morning, the 298th such outing of his pontificate, and took the opportunity to promote next July´s World Youth Day in Toronto.

During Mass at Mater Dei Parish on Via Trionfale, the Holy Father in his homily addressed the youth in particular.

Recalling the last World Youth Day, held in Rome in August 2000, John Paul II said that on that occasion «I invited youth throughout the world to be morning sentinels at the dawn of this millennium.»

«I now renew this exhortation so that you will be attentive and vigilant ´sentinels,´ who keep alive the expectation of Christ,» he said. «Be missionaries to your contemporaries, without being discouraged in the face of difficulties, seeking ways of evangelization adapted to the world of youth.»

The Pontiff congratulated the parish´s young men for having organized an alternative New Year´s Eve for the end of December, an event of prayer and celebration that will attract young people from all over Italy.

The initiative was launched two years ago and is spreading to other countries, as the Pope himself attested.

The Holy Father asked the young people to prepare for World Youth Day by meditating on the theme he himself chose: «You are the salt of the earth … you are the light of the world.»

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