Pope to Kids: Now Is the Time to Be Missionaries

Says Jesus Is Their Unfailing Friend

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 4, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is inviting kids as young as 8 years old to “enthusiastically speak about Jesus” so as to bring the light of the Gospel to those who do not know him.

The Pope urged children to be missionaries in a telegram sent on his behalf by his secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, to the 3rd Missionary Encounter in Spain, held last weekend.

Some 4,500 children, ages 8 to 13, participated in the event sponsored by the Spanish chapter of the Pontifical Missionary Works and the Spanish bishops’ conference. A parallel event was organized by the Christians Without Borders association.

The Holy Father told the kids to “grow in friendship with Jesus, the friend who never fails, through prayer and the sacraments, so as to speak of him with enthusiasm to those who have perhaps not had the joy of knowing him.”

The papal telegram, sent to Archbishop Francisco Pérez González of Pamplona, who directs the Pontifical Missionary Works in Spain, was read Saturday afternoon.

In reference to one of the activities at the encounter in which a presentation of each continent was made, the Pontiff also invited the kids to “observe the various parts of the earth, to become aware of their beauties and necessities.”

And, he encouraged the youngsters to “take on already from now the responsibility of bringing to all of them the light of the Gospel and its message of peace, as well as fraternal aid, especially to those who are most needy.”

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