Youth Have Mail, From the Pontiff

BXVI Greets Users of Xt3 Networking Site

VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 8, 2008 ( For the first time in history, a Pope has sent a message to an Internet social networking site.

Benedict XVI sent a note today to the 35,000 people who are members of, a site that was created to link up participants in this summer’s World Youth Day in Sydney, as well as past Youth Day pilgrims. Xt3 stands for Christ (Xt) in the third (3) millennium.

The papal message, signed “BXVI,” notes that 50 days ago, the Holy Father was with youth at the closing Mass at Randwick Racecourse in Sydney.

“Today I greet you on the birthday of Mary, Mother of the Church,” it continues. “Empowered by the Spirit and courageous like Mary, your pilgrimage of faith fills the Church with life!”

The Pope also notes that he will soon depart for France. His Sept. 12-15 trip marks the 150th anniversary of Our Lady’s apparitions at Lourdes.

“I ask you all to join me in praying for the young people of France,” the Pontiff said. “May we all be rejuvenated in hope!”

Latest technology

Since was launched, more than 35,000 people from some 170 countries have registered, the site’s organizers reported.

Robert Toone, director of Xt3, affirmed, “We are delighted and deeply honored to receive the Pope’s message. His Holiness is displaying his usual readiness to use the latest technology in his desire to communicate with young people.”

Benedict XVI also used cell phone text messages to send a daily note to the young pilgrims during the Sydney event.

Like regular Internet networking sites — such as Facebook and MySpace — Xt3 includes profile pages, friend lists, photo sharing, discussion groups and events. It also features projects and prayer intentions, and a section where you can ask a priest questions on any subject.

The site is also covered by round-the-clock moderation to ensure that Xt3 remains a safer and more secure environment, organizers explained.

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