On 25 Years of World Youth Days

«I Renew this Call to the New Generation to Give Witness»

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 14, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the public address Benedict XVI gave today after the celebration of Palm Sunday Mass and before praying the midday Angelus with the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

* * *

As we conclude this celebration our thoughts cannot but turn to the Palm Sunday of 25 years ago. It was 1985 that the United Nations declared the as «Year of Young People.» Venerable John Paul II wanted to welcome that occasion and, commemorating Christ’s entrance into Jerusalem, acclaimed by his disciples, initiated the World Youth Days. Since then Palm Sunday has acquired this characteristic that every two or three years it is also marked by great global meetings, tracing a kind of pilgrimage of young people across the whole planet, following Jesus.

Some 25 years ago my beloved predecessor invited young people to profess their faith in Christ, who «who took man’s cause upon himself» (Homily, March 31, 1985, nos. 5 and 7: Insegnamenti VIII, 1 [1985], 884, 886). Today I renew this call to the new generation to give witness by the meek and luminous power of the truth, so that the men and women of the third millennium do not lack the most authentic model: Jesus Christ. I give this mandate especially to the 300 delegates of the International Youth Forum, who have come from every part of the world. The forum was convoked by the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

[After these remarks the Holy Father greeted the pilgrims in various languages. In English he said:]

I greet all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors at this Angelus, especially the young people present who are celebrating the twenty-fifth World Youth Day. Today we also begin Holy Week, the Church’s most intense time of prayer and reflection, by recalling Jesus’ welcome into Jerusalem by the children. Let us make their joy our own, by welcoming Christ into our lives, our hearts and our families. Upon you and your loved ones, I gladly invoke the strength and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

[The Holy Father said in Italian:]

In this moment our thoughts and our hearts are directed in a special way toward Jerusalem, where the paschal mystery was accomplished. I am deeply saddened by the recent conflicts and for the tensions that have again arisen in that city, which is a spiritual homeland for Christians, Jews and Muslims, prophecy and promise of that universal reconciliation that God desires for the whole human family.

Peace is a gift that God entrusts to human responsibility so that it might be cultivated through dialogue and respect for the rights of all, reconciliation and forgiveness. Let us pray therefore that those who are responsible for the fate of Jerusalem enter the way of peace with courage and follow it with perseverance!

Dear brothers and sisters! As Jesus did with his disciple John, I too entrust you to Mary, saying to you: Behold your mother (cf. John 19:27). To her we turn with filial confidence, reciting the Angelus prayer.

[Translation by Joseph G. Trabbic]

© Copyright 2010 — Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry


Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation