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Pope challenges Compostela pilgrims to re-evangelize Europe

CWN - January 03, 2011

In a message for the closing of the Holy Year at Santiago de Compostela, Pope Benedict XVI said that the pilgrims who have visited the famous Spanish shrine during the year should now take up the challenge of re-evangelizing Europe and defending human rights.

The pilgrims should “return to their homes as the disciples of Emmaus returned to Jerusalem,” bearing the good news, the Pope wrote, in a message to Bishop Julian Barrio Barrio of Santiago de Compostela. The Pope himself visited the shrine—the traditional goal for European pilgrimages for many centuries—in November.

The evangelical message will be more credible to the world, the Pope remarked, if pilgrims provide genuine service to their neighbors and their communities. If they do, he said, the benefits of the Holy Year will “be be perceptible in Europe, as an incessant call to strengthen its Christian roots and thus increase its commitment to solidarity and the defense of man's dignity.”

The Pope made his appeal in a special way to two groups of people: seminarians and young people. He mentioned that he is looking forward to joining young people in Spain once again for World Youth Day in August.

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