Pope Says Farewell to Youth at World Youth Day: Give a Bold Witness of Christian Living
Recitation of the Angelus Domini at Cuatro Vientos Airport, parting words, and announcement of next WYD in Brazil by Benedict XVI on Aug. 21.
BY The Editors
| Posted 8/22/11 at 11:10 AM
You are now about to go back home. Your friends will want to know how you have changed after being in this lovely city with the Pope and with hundreds of thousands of other young people from around the world. What are you going to tell them? I invite you to give a bold witness of Christian living to them. In this way you will give birth to new Christians and will help the Church grow strongly in the hearts of many others.
During these days, how often I have thought of the young people at home who are waiting for your return! Take my affectionate greetings to them, to those less fortunate, to your families and to the Christian communities that you come from.
Let me also express my gratitude to the bishops and priests who are present in such great numbers at this day. To them all I extend my deepest thanks, encouraging them to continue to work pastorally among young people with enthusiasm and dedication.
I now commend all young people in the world, especially you, dear friends, to the loving intercession of the Most Holy Virgin Mary, Star of the New Evangelization and Mother of young people, and we greet her with the same words as did the Angel of the Lord.
I greet the archbishop of the forces affectionately, and I warmly thank the Spanish Air Force, which very generously permitted Cuatro Vientos Air Base on this, the centenary of the foundation of the Spanish Air Force. I place all Spanish Air Force personnel and their families under the maternal protection of Our Lady of Loreto.
In this context, I recall that yesterday marked the third anniversary of the grave accident at Barajas Airport which caused many deaths and injuries, and I express my spiritual closeness and my deep affection for all those touched by that unfortunate event, and well as for the families of the victims, whose souls we commend to the mercy of God.
I am pleased now to announce that the next World Youth Day will be held in 2013 in Rio de Janeiro. Even now, let us ask the Lord to assist all those who will organize it, and to ease the journey there of young people from all over the world, so that they will be able to join me in that beautiful city of Brazil.
Dear friends, before we say good-bye, and while the young people of Spain pass on the World Youth Day cross to the young people of Brazil, as Successor of Peter I entrust all of you present with this task: Make the knowledge and love of Jesus Christ known to the whole world! He wants you to be the apostles of the 21st century and the messengers of his joy. Do not let him down! Thank you very much.
My dear young people of the French-speaking world, today Christ asks you to be rooted in him and with him, to build your lives upon him who is our rock. He sends you out to be his witnesses, courageous and without anxiety, authentic and credible! Do not be afraid to be Catholic and to be witnesses to those around you in simplicity and sincerity! Let the Church find in you and in your youthfulness joyful missionaries of the Good News of salvation!
I greet all the English-speaking young people present here today! As you return home, take back with you the good news of Christ’s love which we have experienced in these unforgettable days. Fix your eyes upon him, deepen your knowledge of the Gospel, and bring forth abundant fruit! God bless all of you until we meet again!
My dear friends, faith is not a theory. To believe is to enter into a personal relationship with Jesus and to live in friendship with him in fellowship with others, in the communion of the Church. Entrust the whole of your lives to Christ, and bring your friends to find their way to the source of life, to God. May the Lord make you happy and joy-filled witnesses of his love.
My dear young Italians, greetings to all of you. The Eucharist that we have celebrated is the risen Christ present and living in our midst: Through him, your lives are rooted and built upon Christ, strong in faith. With this confidence, depart from Madrid, and tell everyone what you have seen and heard. Respond with joy to the Lord’s call, follow him, and remain always united to him: You will bear much fruit!
Dear Portuguese-speaking young people and friends, you have met Jesus Christ! You will be swimming against the tide in a society with a relativistic culture which wishes neither to seek nor hold on to the truth. But it was for this moment in history, with its great challenges and opportunities, that the Lord sent you, so that, through your faith, the Good News of Jesus might continue to resound throughout the earth. I hope to see you again in two years’ time at the next World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Till then, let us pray for each other, witnessing to the joy that brings forth life, rooted in and built upon Christ. Until we meet again, my dear young people, God bless you all!
Dear young Poles, strong in the faith, rooted in Christ! May the gifts you have received from God during these days bear in you abundant fruit. Be his witnesses. Take to others the message of the Gospel. With your prayers and example of life, help Europe to rediscover its Christian roots.
Read more: http://www.ewtn.com/wyd2011/speeches.asp#ixzz1VfwJf7AX
Thanks to the volunteers
As the events of this unforgettable World Youth Day draw to a close, I wanted to come here, before my return to Rome, to thank you personally for all your invaluable help. It is both a matter of justice and a heartfelt duty. A matter of justice because, thanks to your cooperation, the young pilgrims enjoyed a warm welcome and were assisted in their every need. Your service gave World Youth Day a face of kindness, friendship and neighborly concern.
My gratitude is also a heartfelt duty, not only because you were so attentive to the pilgrims, but also to the Pope! At every event in which I took part, you were there: Some were highly visible, while others stayed in the background, helping to ensure that everything took place in an orderly fashion. I also want to mention all the effort that went into preparing for these days. All the sacrifices, all the love. Everybody did his or her best, by work and prayer, to weave, stitch by stitch, the magnificent, colorful tapestry of this World Youth Day. Many thanks for your dedicated service. I am grateful for this great sign of your love.
Many of you had to give up participating directly in the events because you were engaged in the work of organization. But this sacrifice was itself a beautiful and evangelical way to take part in the celebrations: You gave yourselves to others, as Jesus tells us to do. In a real way you brought to life the Lord’s words: “Whoever wants to be first must be the last of all and servant of all” (Mark 9:35). I am certain that your experience as volunteers has enriched all of you in your Christian life, which in the end is a service to love. The Lord will turn all the weariness, the worries and the burdens of these days into a source of growth in the Christian virtues: patience, meekness, joy in self-giving and eagerness to do God’s will.
To love means to serve, and service increases love. For me, this is one of the finest fruits of your contribution to World Youth Day. But you will not be the only ones who reap this harvest: The whole Church, as a mystery of communion, is enriched by the contribution of each of her members.
As you now go back to your everyday lives, I ask you to treasure this joy-filled experience in your hearts and to grow each day in giving yourselves to God and to others. Perhaps many of you felt a very simple question forming in your hearts, faintly or forcefully as the case may be: What is God asking me to do? What is his plan for my life? Is Christ asking me to follow him more closely? Should I not spend my whole life in the mission to proclaim to the world the greatness of his love through the priesthood, or the consecrated life, or marriage? If this question has surfaced, let the Lord be your guide and become volunteers in the service of the One who “came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). Your life will achieve fulfillment in ways you cannot imagine.
Perhaps some of you are thinking: The Pope came to thank us and here he is asking us for something more! You are right. But that is the mission of the Pope, the Successor of Peter. After all, Peter, in his First Letter, reminds Christians that they were ransomed at a great price: that of the blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:18-19). Those who look at their lives from this perspective know that Christ’s love can only be met with love. That is what the Pope is asking you to do in this farewell: to respond in love to the One who for love gave himself up for us. Once again, I thank all of you. May God be ever at your side!
Farewell at airport before boarding plane
Your Majesties, distinguished national, autonomous regional and local authorities, Your Eminence, the archbishop of Madrid, and president of the Spanish Episcopal Conference, Your Eminences and dear brother bishops; dear friends,
The time has come for us to say good-bye. These days spent in Madrid, in the company of so many young people from Spain and from throughout the world, will remain deeply etched in my mind and heart.
Your Majesty, the Pope felt at home in Spain! And the young people who were the heart of this World Youth Day found a warm welcome here and in the many cities and towns of the country, which they were able to visit in the days before these celebrations.
I thank Your Majesty for your gracious words and for your presence at my arrival in Spain and now at my departure. I thank the national, autonomous regional and local authorities for the helpfulness and understanding which they showed before this international event. I also thank the thousands of volunteers who ensured the orderly unfolding of the many activities of this meeting: the various literary, musical, cultural and religious events of the festival, the catecheses given by the bishops and the main events in the presence of the Successor of Peter. I thank the police and security forces and all those who helped by providing a wide variety of services: from the music and the liturgy to the details of transportation, health care and meals.
Spain is a great nation whose soundly open, pluralistic and respectful society is capable of moving forward without surrendering its profoundly religious and Catholic soul. In these days, it once more made this clear, revealing its technical and human resources in the service of an undertaking of immense consequence and promise: that of helping young people to become more deeply rooted in Jesus Christ, our Savior.
A particular word of gratitude is due to the organizers of World Youth Day: to the cardinal president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity and all the personnel of that office, to the archbishop of Madrid, Cardinal Antonio María Rouco Varela, his auxiliary bishops and the whole archdiocese, and in particular to the general coordinator, Msgr. César Augusto, Franco Martinez, and the many generous members of his staff. The bishops worked generously and diligently in their dioceses to prepare for the celebrations, together with their priests, consecrated persons and the lay faithful. To all I express my gratitude, and I pray that the Lord will bless your apostolic labors.
Nor can I fail to offer heartfelt thanks to the young people for having come to the World Youth Day and for their joyful, enthusiastic and intense presence. To them I say thank you, and I congratulate you for the witness which you gave in Madrid and in the other cities of Spain in which you stayed.
Now I ask you to spread throughout the world the profound and joyful experience of faith which you had here in this noble country. Share your joy especially with those who would have liked to come but were unable to do so for various reasons, with all those who were praying for you, and with all those whose hearts were touched by these celebrations. By your closeness and your witness, help your friends to discover that loving Christ means living life to the full.
I leave Spain very happy and grateful to everyone. But above all I am grateful to God, Our Lord, who allowed me to celebrate these days so filled with enthusiasm and grace, so charged with dynamism and hope. The feast of faith which we have shared enables us to look forward with great confidence in Providence, which guides the Church across the seas of history. That is why she continues to be young and full of life, even as she confronts challenging situations. This is the work of the Holy Spirit, who makes Jesus Christ present in the hearts of young people in every age and shows them the grandeur of the divine vocation given to every man and woman. We were also able to see how the grace of Christ tears down the walls and overcomes the barriers which sin erects between peoples and generations, in order to make all mankind a single family which acknowledges its one Father and which cultivates, by work and respect, all that he has given us in creation.
Young people readily respond when one proposes to them, in sincerity and truth, an encounter with Jesus Christ, the one Redeemer of humanity. Now those young people are returning home as missionaries of the Gospel, “rooted and built up in Christ, and firm in the faith,” and they will need to be helped on their way. So I urge bishops, priests, religious and Christian educators in particular, to care for those young people who want to respond enthusiastically to the Lord’s call. There is no reason to lose heart in the face of the various obstacles we encounter in some countries. The yearning for God which the Creator has placed in the hearts of young people is more powerful than all of these, as is the power from on high which gives divine strength to those who follow the Master and who seek in him nourishment for life. Do not be afraid to present to young people the message of Jesus Christ in all its integrity and to invite them to celebrate the sacraments by which he gives us a share in his own life.
Your Majesty, before returning to Rome, I would like to assure the people of Spain of my constant prayers, especially for married couples and families who are facing various kinds of difficulties, the needy and the infirm, the elderly and children, as well as those who have no work.
I pray in particular of the young people of Spain. I am sure that they will contribute the best they have to offer through their faith in Christ, so that this great country can face the challenges of the present hour and can continue along the paths of peace, solidarity, justice and freedom. Along with these intentions, I entrust the sons and daughters of this noble land to the intercession of the Virgin Mary, our heavenly Mother, and to them all I willingly impart my blessing. May the joy of the Lord always fill your hearts. Thank you.
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