Youth Invited to Hear Christ's Plea for Apostles

Pope Remembers His Pilgrimage to Spain at Close of Jubilee Year

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 7, 2011 ( Benedict XVI is telling those who journeyed with him this year to Santiago de Compostela, Spain, that they cannot be left the same, and particularly youth need to hear Christ asking them: Will you be my apostle?

The Pope said this in a Dec. 18 letter to the archbishop of Santiago, Julián Barrio Barrio, on the occasion of the close of the Jacobean Holy Year. The Holy Father was one of the thousands of pilgrims who journeyed to Spain for the jubilee, the «Jacobeo» Holy Year, which occurs whenever the July 25 feast day of the Apostle James the Greater (in Spanish, Santiago) falls on a Sunday, which happens 14 times every century. The Pontiff’s pilgrimage was Nov. 6-7.

Benedict XVI’s message touched on the main elements of the pilgrimage: the sharing of «concerns, hopes and challenges;» the renewal of the profession of faith, the intonation of praise to God and the confession of sins and encounter with Christ in the Eucharist.

«This meeting cannot leave [these pilgrims] indifferent,» he said. They «will return to their homes as the disciples of Emmaus returned to Jerusalem,» needing the «resolution to strengthen our faith every day, participating assiduously in the mysteries of grace entrusted to the Church and giving effective and concrete example of charity.»


The Pope addressed a particular message to youth, reminding them of World Youth Day to be held in Madrid this August. He invited young people to be drawn in by Christ, «establishing with him a frank and deliberate dialogue and also asking themselves: Will the Lord count on me to be his apostle in the world, to be a messenger of his love?»

«May generosity not be lacking in responding, nor that fearlessness which led James to follow the Master without sparing sacrifices,» the Holy Father said.

He also encouraged seminarians to an increasing identification with Jesus, reminding them that «the vocation to the priesthood is an admirable gift of which one must be proud, because the world needs persons dedicated completely to making Jesus Christ present.»

The Pope assured that he would keep in his soul the memory of his «pleasant stay» in Santiago, and he voiced his prayer that the fruits of the Jubilee would bring the redeeming Word of Christ to be ever more present.

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