Church Belongs to You, Pope Tells Youth

Warns of What Is Worthless in Life

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GLASGOW, Scotland, SEPT. 16, 2010 ( Benedict XVI is putting youth on guard against what’s worthless in life, recommending instead that they learn about their dignity as children of God and live accordingly.

The Pope made this heartfelt appeal to young people today as he celebrated an open-air Mass on a sunny Scottish evening in Bellahouston Park, about three miles from the center of Glasgow.

Crowds waving Vatican flags welcomed the Holy Father from Edinburgh, and he stopped the popemobile to kiss a baby girl. A moment of silence recollected the crowd before the Mass got under way.

The German Pontiff arrived today in Scotland, beginning a four-day trip to the United Kingdom that will include an address to representatives of British society, and the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman.

The Holy Father’s homily touched on themes ranging from ecumenism, to the evangelization of culture, to the need to pray for vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life.

It was this last theme that formed a part of his particular greeting to youth, with which he closed the homily.

«I urge you to lead lives worthy of Our Lord and of yourselves,» he told the «dear young Catholics of Scotland.»

Glittery but empty

Benedict XVI acknowledged the «many temptations placed before you every day — drugs, money, sex, pornography, alcohol — which the world tells you will bring you happiness, yet these things are destructive and divisive.»
<br>»There is only one thing which lasts,» he affirmed, «the love of Jesus Christ personally for each one of you. Search for him, know him and love him, and he will set you free from slavery to the glittering but superficial existence frequently proposed by today’s society.

«Put aside what is worthless and learn of your own dignity as children of God.»

The Pontiff added that the Gospel for today’s Mass, which marked the feast of St. Ninian, patron of Scotland, included Jesus’ exhortation to pray for vocations.

«I pray that many of you will know and love Jesus Christ and, through that encounter, will dedicate yourselves completely to God, especially those of you who are called to the priesthood and religious life,» Benedict XVI told the young people. «This is the challenge the Lord gives to you today: the Church now belongs to you!»

Shining examples

Earlier, the Holy Father had given a particular message to bishops and priests, also encouraging them in prayer for vocations.

He told the bishops to give priority to priests and their sanctification.

«Live to the full the charity that flows from Christ, in your brotherly ministry towards your priests, collaborating with them all, and in particular with those who have little contact with their fellow priests,» he said. «Pray with them for vocations, that the Lord of the harvest will send laborers to his harvest.»

The Pope asked his brother bishops to be personally engaged in the formation of priests, and to take care as well of deacons.

«Be a father and a guide in holiness for them, encouraging them to grow in knowledge and wisdom in carrying out the mission of herald to which they have been called,» he said.

Then turning to priests, he reminded them of their call to holiness and to model their lives on the cross of Christ.

«Preach the Gospel with a pure heart and a clear conscience,» he said. «Dedicate yourselves to God alone and you will become shining examples to young men of a holy, simple and joyful life: they, in their turn, will surely wish to join you in your single-minded service of God’s people.»

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