VATICAN CITY, MARCH 18, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Physically unable to attend the annual youth meeting of the Diocese of Rome, John Paul II appeared via television.
Held Thursday afternoon in the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the vigil of Eucharistic adoration was a preparation for World Youth Day, Aug. 15-21, in Cologne, Germany.
The Pope appeared on a large screen via a video linkup for several minutes. He was seated in an armchair, in silence.
Then, with a gesture of his hand, he seemed to apologize for his inability to actually be with the young people of his diocese, whom he usually meets before Palm Sunday. Thousands of young people watched the Pope.
The focus of the event was adoration of the Eucharist, in line with the Pope’s having designated a Year of the Eucharist.
John Paul II appeared after testimonies by some of the young people and a meditation by French monk Father Daniel Ange, founder of Jeunesse Lumière, an international Catholic school of prayer and evangelization.
During the Pope’s appearance, Cardinal Camillo Ruini, his vicar for Rome and president of the Italian episcopal conference, read the message the Holy Father prepared for the occasion.
“I know that you are always by my side and that you do not tire of praying for me. I greet you and I give you my heartfelt thanks,” the Pope said in the message.
The message was a prayer to Jesus in the Eucharist for the world’s young people, who live “at a time marked by hatreds, egoisms, desires of false happiness, the decadence of customs, the absence of paternal and maternal figures, and instability in so many young families.”
“Jesus, we ask you that every young person here present may want to be united to you in an eternal thanksgiving and commit himself in the world of today and tomorrow to be an architect of the civilization of love,” the Holy Father prayed.
The text ended with this supplication: “Jesus, who surrendered yourself to the Father, love them! Jesus, who surrendered yourself to the Father, heal the wounds of their spirit! Jesus, who surrendered yourself to the Father, help them to adore you in truth and bless them! Now and always. Amen!”
The Holy Father was not on television throughout the vigil. But Cardinal Ruini explained at the start that the Pope would follow the whole event from the Vatican.