On Thursday, Aug. 18, Pope Benedict XVI arrives in Madrid. Watch EWTN to see the welcoming ceremonies at the International Airport of Madrid Barajas and with young people at Plaza
de Cibeles.

On Friday, Aug. 19, the Pope meets with women religious at Patio de los Reyes de El Escorial and with young university professors gathered in the Basilica de San Lorenzo de El Escorial. The day will end with the Way of the Cross with the young people at Plaza de Cibeles.

On Saturday, Aug. 20, the Holy Father celebrates Mass with the seminarians at the Cathedral of Santa María la Real de la Almudena and Eucharistic adoration at the prayer vigil with the young people at Cuatro Vientos Airport.

Sunday, Aug. 21, is the World Youth Day Mass at Cuatro Vientos Airport, and there will be other events before his departure later that day.


Isaiah 55:10-11; Psalm 65:10-14; Romans 8:18-23; Matthew 13:1-23
or 13:1-9

Our Take

Pope Benedict XVI’s World Youth Day message, published months before the actual event, is a beautiful meditation on the place of God in the lives of young people. He even talks about his youth, a subject he does not often have occasion to address. An excerpt follows:

“In every period of history, including our own, many young people experience a deep desire for personal relationships marked by truth and solidarity. Many of them yearn to build authentic friendships, to know true love, to start a family that will remain united, to achieve personal fulfillment and real security, all of which are the guarantee of a serene and happy future.

“In thinking of my own youth, I realize that stability and security are not the questions that most occupy the minds of young people. True enough, it is important to have a job and thus to have firm ground beneath our feet, yet the years of our youth are also a time when we are seeking to get the most out of life. When I think back on that time, I remember, above all, that we were not willing to settle for a conventional middle-class life. We wanted something great, something new. We wanted to discover life itself, in all its grandeur and beauty. Naturally, part of that was due to the times we lived in.

“During the Nazi dictatorship and the war, we were, so to speak, ‘hemmed in’ by the dominant power structure. So we wanted to break out into the open, to experience the whole range of human possibilities. I think that, to
some extent, this urge to break out of the ordinary is present in every generation.

“Part of being young is desiring something beyond everyday life and a secure job, a yearning for something really truly greater. Is this simply an empty dream that fades away as we become older? No! Men and women were created for something great, for infinity. Nothing else will ever be enough.

“St. Augustine was right when he said, ‘Our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you.’ The desire for a more meaningful life is a sign that God created us and that we bear his ‘imprint.’ God is life, and that is why every creature reaches out towards life.

“Because human beings are made in the image of God, we do this in a unique and special way. We reach out for love, joy and peace. So, we can see how absurd it is to think that we can truly live by removing God from the picture! God is the source of life. …

“There is a growing mentality of relativism, which holds that everything is equally valid, that truth and absolute points of reference do not exist. But this way of thinking does not lead to true freedom, but rather to instability, confusion and blind conformity to the fads of the moment. As young people, you are entitled to receive from previous generations solid points of reference to help you to make choices on which
to build your lives: like a young plant which needs solid support until it can sink deep roots and become a sturdy tree capable of bearing fruit.”

Tom and April Hoopes write from Atchison, Kansas, where Tom is writer in residence at Benedictine College.