Youth Day to Focus on Love, Says Spokesman

Key for Understanding Pontificate

VATICAN CITY, JULY 22, 2007 ( Benedict XVI wants to make the 2008 World Youth Day in Sydney a great proclamation to young people of God’s love, the Vatican spokesman said.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, explained this today in the latest edition of the television program “Octava Dies.”

“In one year we will be in Sydney or we will be looking to Sydney,” he said. “The World Youth Days continue their marvelous adventure and are preparing to land in Oceania, in a splendid city that is a symbol of development and vitality on a continent that is both ancient and young.

“It seems like yesterday that at Marienfeld in Cologne, Benedict XVI announced this meeting which was welcomed with an indescribable enthusiasm by the Australian young people who waved flags and figures of kangaroos. And now we are practically on the eve.”

Father Lombardi mentioned that the WYD cross is already on pilgrimage in Australia. He called the cross “a symbol of the spiritual journey of conversion and commitment with which the young people of the world prepare for a great event of meeting and celebration of the faith with the Pope.”

The heart

The spokesman continued: “In the general audience of July 4 in Rome and at the Angelus on August 15 in Lorenzago di Cadore, Benedict XVI has twice already touched on the message directed to young people and he nourished their program of preparation.

“It is inspired by the promise of the risen Jesus to his apostles: ‘You will receive power from the Holy Spirit who will descend on you and you will be my witnesses.’

“He added that the heart of the Christian life is love, because it is love — awakened in us by the Holy Spirit — that makes us witnesses of Christ.”

Father Lombardi recalled that the Holy Father dedicated his first encyclical to the God who is love and that his document on the Eucharist is titled “Sacrament of Love.”

“Now,” said Father Lombardi, “love is proclaimed to all young people as the soul of their commitment and of their witness. The line is clear: It is in this evangelical light that we must understand the whole pontificate and its messages for the Church and the world.”

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