Papal Message to Focolare Youth

May young people «offer a hand of friendship to those who come from other contexts and cultures»

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VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 4, 2012 ( Here is a translation of Benedict XVI’s greeting signed by his secretary of state and sent to the president of the Focolare Movement, Maria Voce, on the occasion of the 2012 Genfest. The youth encounter was held Friday through Sunday in Budapest, Hungary. 

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Very Dear Ms. Voce,

The Holy Father was happy to be informed of the celebration of the 2012 Genfest, which will be held at Budapest from August 31 to September 2, and sends his warm greetings to all the young people participating in it.

His Holiness observes that the city itself is an eloquent symbol, at many levels, of the aspirations that lead so many young people to come together for the event entitled “Let’s Bridge.” The numerous bridges that span the Danube, that connect the settlements from Buda and Pest and make them a single unity, were destroyed during World War II. Yet, born from the ashes of that terrible conflict was the determination to build peace on lasting foundations, a determination that was the inspiration at the base of the foundation of the Focolare Movement. The bridges of the Danube were reconstructed and the international community was determined to eliminate once and for all the conditions that could lead to a future conflict.

While Budapest itself, together with the greater part of Eastern Europe, continued to suffer under the oppression of a totalitarian regime, new possibilities also emerged there of liberty and fraternal solidarity after the end of the Cold War. I hope that this most beautiful city will be a sign of hope to inspire all the young people present to offer a hand of friendship to those who come from other contexts and cultures, so as to give shape to an «earthly city in unity and peace, rendering it to some degree an anticipation and a prefiguration of the undivided city of God» (Caritas in Veritate, 7).

With these sentiments, the Holy Father willingly imparts his Apostolic Blessing to all the participants of the 2012 Genfest, as pledge of lasting peace and joy.


Tarcisio Bertone

Secretary of State

[Translation by ZENIT]
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