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Pope releases message for World Youth Day 2013

Catholic World News - November 16, 2012

The Vatican has released the message of Pope Benedict XVI for the 28th observance of World Youth Day (WYD), which will be held in July 2013 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Inviting the young people of the world to the WYD celebration, the Pope remarks that the famous statue of Christ the Redeemer, which looks down on the city of Rio de Janeiro, is “an eloquent symbol for us.” The Pope explained: “Christ’s open arms are a sign of his willingness to embrace all those who come to him.”

“Many young people today seriously question whether life is something good, and have a hard time finding their way,” the Pope writes in his message, while others are wondering: “Is there anything I can do?” He suggested that the WYD experience may help young people to answer both sorts of questions.

The Pope’s message lays heavy emphasis on the Year of Faith and the call to a New Evangelization. “You are the first missionaries among your contemporaries,” he reminds young Catholics. He urges them to deepen their own interior lives, so that they will have the spiritual resources to share with their peers:

The more we know Christ, the more we want to talk about him. The more we speak with Christ, the more we want to speak about him. The more we are won over by Christ, the more we want to draw others to him.

Pope Benedict encourages young people to find occasions for sharing the Gospel message. “Open your eyes and look around you,” he says, suggesting that all Christians can find opportunities for evangeization in “the different areas of our lives, such as our families, communities, places of study and work, groups of friends and places where we spend our free time.”

However, the Pope offers two particular suggestions for young people. First, he says, the young have many opportunities to share their faith through “the field of social communications, particularly the world of the internet.” Next he observes that because so many young people today travel abroad, for studies of for pleasure, the world of travel offers other opportunities.

The Pontiff assures young Christians that they should not be worried about their own inadequacies as evangelizers, because it “is not our initiative, and does not depend on our talents.” He encourages them to learn about their faith, so that they can pass it along accurately. Above all, he says: “Authentic evangelization is born of prayer and sustained by prayer.”

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