Youth Gather to Wish Pope "Good Night"

Benedict XVI Tells Young People He Counts on Their Prayers

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LISBON, Portugal, MAY 11, 2010 ( Christ is «eternally young,» Benedict XVI said tonight to youth who had gathered outside the apostolic nunciature in Lisbon to tell him good night.

The Pope arrived in Portugal today for his 15th international apostolic trip. After a day marked by a public Mass and an official welcome from the president, the Holy Father dined at the nunciature.

After dinner, he went to a balcony to greet the youth who had gathered below.

«I appreciated the lively and numerous participation of young people in this afternoon’s Mass on the Terreiro do Paco, a clear indication of their faith and their desire to build their future on the Gospel of Jesus Christ,» he told them. «Thank you for your joyful witness to Christ, who is eternally young, and thank you for the kindness you have shown to his humble Vicar on earth by gathering here this evening.»

The Pontiff said he thanked the youth «from my heart» for their good night wishes. «But now,» the 83-year-old Pontiff remarked, «you must let me go and sleep, otherwise the night will not be good, and tomorrow awaits us.»

He affirmed his joy at joining «the multitude of pilgrims to Fatima on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the beatification of Francisco and Jacinta,» the shepherds who saw Mary in Fatima.

«With Our Lady’s help, they learned to recognize God’s light in the depths of their hearts and to adore it in their lives,» Benedict XVI reflected. «May the Virgin Mary obtain the same grace for you and may she protect you! I continue to count on you and on your prayers that this visit to Portugal may bear abundant fruit. And now, with great affection, I give you my blessing, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

«Good night! See you tomorrow. Thank you very much!»

Youthful demands

The Pope will again meet with young people when he is in Porto on Friday.

"The young people almost demand that the Pope speaks to them,» the general coordinator of the visit, Bishop Carlos Azevedo, said Monday at a press conference in Lisbon.

The area with 7,500 seats that had been reserved for young people at the Mass in Terreiro do Paco had to be extended, he explained, because «the enthusiasm of the youth for Benedict XVI’s visit has been astonishing.»

An initiative sponsored by Schonstatt, the Jesuits and other youth ministry programs, alone brought in 11,000 registrations.

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