The culmination of the Eighth World Youth Day was the solemn Mass celebrated by Pope John Paul II with 500,000 young people, adults and children at Cherry Creek State Park in Denver on Aug. 15, the Solemnity of Mary's Assumption into heaven. Concelebrating with the Holy Father were several hundred bishops from the United States and other countries of the world.
At the beginning of the Mass, the Pope greeted the faithful with the following words:
Good Morning. Today is a great holy day, a great Solemnity of the Assumption of our Mother, of our Lady. She embraces all of us in her Assumption. This is the meaning of the words of Jesus, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” This means that our Lady in her Assumption has the fullness of life for her and for all of us. We are participating in this same life, which is her life, our Mother, our Lady, the Virgin Mary. So in the name of Jesus and of his Mother, I say again, “Good Morning!”After the Gospel the Holy Father gave the following Homily:
“God who is mighty has done great things for me” (Luke 1:49). Beloved Young People and Dear Friends in Christ,
Today the Church finds herself, with Mary, on the threshold of the house of Zechariah in Ain-Karim. With new life stirring within her, the Virgin of Nazareth hastened there, immediately after the Fiat of the Annunciation, to be of help to her cousin Elizabeth. It was Elizabeth who first recognized the “great things” which God was doing in Mary. Filled with the Holy Spirit, Elizabeth marveled that the mother of her Lord should come to her (cf. Luke 1:43). With deep insight into the mystery, she declared: “Blest is she who believed that the Lord's words to her would be fulfilled” (Luke 1:45). With her soul full of humble gratitude to God, Mary replied with a hymn of praise: “God who is mighty has done great things for me and holy is his name” (Luke 1:49).
On this feast the Church celebrates the culmination of the “great things” which God has done in Mary: her glorious Assumption into heaven. And throughout the Church the same hymn of thanksgiving, the Magnificat, rings out as it did for the first time at Ain-Karim: All generations call you blessed (cf. Luke 1:48).
Gathered at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, which remind us that Jerusalem too was surrounded by hills (cf. Isaiah 24:2) and that Mary had gone up into those hills (cf. Luke 1:39), we are here to celebrate Mary's “going up” to the heavenly Jerusalem, to the threshold of the eternal temple of the Most Holy Trinity. Here in Denver, at the World Youth Day, the Catholic sons and daughters of America, together with others “from every tribe and tongue, people and nation” (Revelations 5:9), join all the generations since who have cried out: God has done great things for you, Mary — and for all of us, members of his pilgrim people! (cf. Luke 1:49).
With my heart full of praise for the Queen of Heaven, the sign of hope and source of comfort on our pilgrimage of faith to “the heavenly Jerusalem” (Hebrews 12:22), I greet all of you who are present at this solemn liturgy. It is a pleasure for me to see so many priests, religious and lay faithful from Denver, from the state of Colorado, from all parts of the United States, and from so many countries of the world, who have joined the young people of the World Youth Day ato honor the definitive victory of grace in Mary, the Mother of the Redeemer.