Benedict XVI has been a leading advocate of the evangelization of the “digital continent.” Now, as the Pope prepares to leave the See of Peter, young people are using the “digital continent” to tell their own stories about a pope who has profoundly impacted their lives.
Throughout this year’s 40 days of Lent, an online initiative called Generation Benedict is publishing 40 testimonies, one for each day, from young people who have grown in their faith during Pope Benedict’s pontificate.
Bloggers Collette Power and Lisette Carr came up with the idea for Generation Benedict after receiving the news that the Holy Father would resign at the end of this month.
Speaking with ZENIT, Lisette Carr, who is currently based in Dublin, explained that the aim of Generation Benedict is to highlight the “positive impact the Holy Father has had on young Catholics from the UK and Ireland.”
“For us, this moment in the history of the Catholic Church is one of growth, renewal, dynamism and joy,” she said. “This is the message we hope people get when they read the blog.”
Speaking about the testimonies being published throughout Lent, Carr continued: “We hope sharing stories will inspire others; maybe they will read one of his encyclicals or speeches, or watch a homily on video. Perhaps a testimony will inspire someone to go to Adoration, Mass, or sign up for World Youth Day Rio! We hope during these 40 days, seeds will be scattered and more hearts will be touched by the experiences shared on the blog.”
Collette Power, who is based in England, also spoke with ZENIT about the reasons for creating this blog. “With so many media outlets claiming that Pope Benedict was out of touch with the ‘youth of today,'” she said, “it was important for me that the ‘youth of the Church’ tell their own story, in their own words and on the continent the Holy Father encouraged us to take responsibility for evangelising: the digital continent.”
Power cited the Holy Father’s visit to the United Kingdom as having a strong impact on her own faith, adding how he knew how to challenge young people to live their faith more fully. “He continually called us to enter into an intimate relationship with Christ, to find our home in the Catholic Church, to live our Catholicism without compromise, to place our gifts and talents at the service of the Gospel and to give a bold and courageous witness to the Gospel truth in a world that so desperately needs Christ.”
“In a world marked by mediocrity and indifference, he challenged us to become the saints of the 21st century,” she said. “He reminded us of our vocation to become holy and entrusted to us the great missionary challenge of sanctifying the whole world.”