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Castel Gandolfo 
Saturday, 12 August 2000


Dear Young People,

1. You have wished to include a visit to the Successor of Peter on the Jubilee journey which has brought you to Rome, to the basilicas and places sacred to the memories of the Apostles, and have come to see me here in Castel Gandolfo.

Thank you for coming and welcome! Thank you for your testimony of affection. I ardently hope that this pilgrimage will be a favourable opportunity for you to renew your strong and convinced adherence to the Lord. Christ needs people who can bear witness before the world to the radical newness of his Gospel. I invite you to open your hearts to him with generosity, so that after your stay in Rome you can go home with an even greater apostolic spirit, to be courageous missionaries of the new evangelization. By looking at your lives and striving for the goal of holiness, may the people you meet experience the joy of being Christ's disciples.

The liturgy of these days presents to us significant saints who are an incentive to us to follow the Lord in total fidelity. I am thinking of St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, co-patroness of Europe, a nun and martyr of the last century; I am thinking of St Maximilian Kolbe, whose feast we will celebrate next Monday:  I am thinking of St Laurence, who found the meaning of his life in the diaconate, and of St Clare of Assisi, whose life was nourished by the Eucharistic mystery. May their intercession, with that of Sts Peter and Paul, support and help you to walk in faith and love, working for the kingdom of God wherever Providence has placed you.

2. I would like to extend a special cordial greeting to the "Jubilee Volunteers" who have been busy for several days now preparing for an orderly World Youth Day. This is an eagerly awaited event on which all believers' eyes have been focused, for it is the task of the young generations to receive the torch of faith and bring it to their peers and to the humanity of the third millennium.

Some of your representatives are here, while others are listening to us in St Peter's Square by radio link-up. They have taken part in the Holy Mass offered by the Cardinal Vicar and will end the celebration of their Jubilee by passing through the Holy Door. I also recall the organizers of the Jubilee's Volunteer Centre, who are coordinating the various groups of volunteers who have made themselves available to the Holy Year pilgrims.

Dear friends, I affectionately greet you and am grateful to you for the generosity with which you have offered your commitment. May God reward you for your care and availability in the service to which you are called. You are asked to help your peers and pilgrims from every part of the world to participate in an orderly and fruitful way in the various events of World Youth Day. Help them, through your efficient organization, to meet Christ and to make this international meeting an unforgettable experience, an experience of young people, of the young Church. Help them, too, to experience the beauty of being together, motivated by positive sentiments in order to lay the foundations of a new humanity, inspired by the values of brotherhood and peace. This experience is also expressed in the variety of colours, through the colours and also through the mottos you bear. Each one has an identity card.

3. My deep appreciation is extended to the managers and employees of the "Sodexho" Company, an important firm because it is in charge of the distribution of meals at the canteens set up for World Youth Day. Their work is even more praiseworthy because they have given up several days of holiday to be available to the participants in this extraordinary Jubilee event, and have donated the equivalent of an hour's work to the Pope's charity. Thank you, dear friends, for your concern and for your generosity. God reward you!

4. Dear Sisters of the Schönstatt Women's Association! You have come to Rome in the middle of the Holy Year, on the occasion of your 50th anniversary, to draw strength for your mission from the tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul. I extend a cordial greeting to you in Castel Gandolfo, together with the hope that you will be able to strengthen your pilgrimage in faith, hope and charity.

During this meeting the witness and action of Christian women who have marked the life of the Church and of society come to mind. A woman's spiritual strength lies in the fact that God entrusted life to her in a particular way. May this awareness of your vocation remind you of the dignity you have received from God as women. Your service to life makes you strong and capable women (cf. Prv 31: 10), a firm support for all who are close to you. Let us thank God that there are so many capable women! Through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who was able to serve the divine life, I wish you a fruitful stay in the Eternal City. I gladly impart my Apostolic Blessing to you and to all the members of the Schönstatt Women's Association.

5. Lastly, I would like to greet all the other pilgrims, groups or individuals who have come to visit me. I assure you all of a remembrance in my prayer and, as I invoke upon each one the gentle protection of Mary who was taken up into heaven, on the eve of her feastday, I now bless you from my heart.

© Copyright 2000 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana


© Copyright - Libreria Editrice Vaticana