Young People Exhorted to Be Urban Missionaries

Benedict XVI Makes an Appeal

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 8, 2006 ( Benedict XVI proposed to young people that they be the new missionaries in the streets and squares of cities.

The Pope uttered his exhortation when greeting 350 young “missionaries,” as he called them, who had just participated in the third “Jesus in the Center” mission, carried out since Sept. 28 on the streets of Rome’s historic center. The mission ended today.

The young people were in St. Peter’s Square, along with the crowds that gathered to pray the Angelus with the Pope. It marked the closing act of the young people’s missionary experience.

“Dear friends,” the Holy Father said, “I rejoice over your joyful commitment to proclaim the Gospel on the streets and squares, in schools and hospitals, as well as in young Romans’ places of recreation.”

“I encourage you to maintain this missionary style in everyday life, always taking advantage of diocesan formative initiatives,” he added.

In the context of the mission, prayer meetings and Eucharistic adoration were organized in some Rome churches, as well as the Way of the Cross from the Basilica of St. John Lateran to the Basilica of the Holy Cross of Jerusalem. Also organized were street activities and the installation of a “Tent of Meeting.”

Every day, a “Sports City” was opened, offering soccer and volleyball tournaments.

In addition, there were moments of celebration and testimony, such as a concert held in Piazza Navona on the night of Sept. 30.

Thanks to the first edition of this mission, a “School of Diocesan Evangelization” was established in Rome, open to people 18 to 35 years of age, dedicated to teaching how to pray, how to listen to the Word of God, and how to evangelize.

The mission was organized by the diocesan service for youth pastoral care of the Vicariate of Rome and the Major Roman Seminary, in collaboration with some parishes, associations and movements present in the diocese’s territory.

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