Youth Urged to Be Signs of Hope Through Holiness

Papal Message to Italian Catholic Action Meeting

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 10, 2001 ( At the strife-pocked start of a new millennium, John Paul II invites young people to be signs of hope through holy lives and love for Christ.

The papal message published today is addressed to the boys and girls of Italian Catholic Action, who held their national meeting in Rome over the weekend. This institution, created by Pope Pius XI, is the largest lay movement in Italy with almost 500,000 members.

In his message, the Holy Father renews the appeal he made to young people at World Youth Day 2000, to be «watchmen of the morning at the dawn of the third millennium.»

«Although in this first part of the century, scourged unfortunately by terrorism, fear and war, the appeal might seem too prejudicial, it continues to be valid,» he states.

«Today, more than ever, to be watchmen of the morning of the new millennium it is necessary to be saints!» the Pontiff adds.

According to the Pope, to live a holy life is not complicated. The secret is to make the Gospel the book of life´s backpack.

«Increasingly in love with the word of Christ, learn to listen to it, to understand it, to study it in-depth, to love it and, above all, to live it,» the Holy Father says.

«Christ takes you there where there is pain to alleviate, solidarity to be expressed, joy to be celebrated; in the exhaustion of study and work, in rest and relaxation, in family life as well as a longed-for future, which is often slow in coming,» the papal message concludes.

Among the role models the Pope suggests to young people is Pier Giorgio Frassati, a Catholic Action member who died in 1925 at age 24. He was beatified in 1990.

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