Pope: Youths must be witnesses of hope

POPE-AUSTRALIA/YOUTH

Pilgrims from Spain cheered when Pope Benedict XVI announced that Madrid would host the next international celebration of World Youth Day, scheduled for 2011. He made the announcement at the close of last summer's WYD celebration in Sydney, Australia. (CNS photo/Will Burgess, Reuters)

The Vatican today published the text of Pope Benedict XVI’s message to the world’s young Catholics, who will celebrate World Youth Day this year in their own dioceses. In the pope’s Diocese of Rome, and in most dioceses around the world, the celebrations will take place on Palm Sunday, April 5.

The 2009 theme is: “We have set our hope on the living God.” Here is an outtake from the papal message:

My dear friends, follow the example of Paul and be witnesses to the Risen Christ! Make Christ known, among your own age group and beyond, to those who are in search of “the great hope” that would give meaning to their lives.

If Jesus has become your hope, communicate this to others with your joy and your spiritual, apostolic and social engagement. Let Christ dwell within you, and having placed all your faith and trust in him, spread this hope around you. Make choices that demonstrate your faith. Show that you understand the risks of idolizing money, material goods, career and success, and do not allow yourselves to be attracted by these false illusions. Do not yield to the rationale of selfish interests. Cultivate love of neighbour and try to put yourselves and your human talents and professional abilities at the service of the common good and of truth, always prepared to “make your defence to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you” (1 Pet 3:15).

True Christians are never sad, even if they have to face trials of various kinds, because the presence of Jesus is the secret of their joy and peace.”

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