Shortly after arriving on the island of Sardinia on Sunday morning, Pope Benedict presided over Mass for 100,000 people at the Shrine of Our Lady of Bonaria. In his homily, the Pope challenged his listeners to help young people encounter Christ, and through this new generation of Christians, evangelize politics, the economy and the working world.
The Mass took place on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Our Lady of Bonaria, the island’s patroness, a fact recognized by Pope Benedict.
He called on the faithful "to give thanks to Mary for her protection and to reiterate our faith in her, recognizing her as the 'Star of the new evangelization'."
Invoking the help of Our Lady of Bonaria, Benedict XVI underscored the need for the people of Sardinia to bring Christ "to families, small domestic Churches and cells of society.” Families “today more than ever need trust and support at both a spiritual and social level," the Pontiff added.
If Sardinian society is to be renewed, it must come from young people who "by their nature are bearers of fresh energy,” he continued. Turning to Our Lady again, the Pope implored her help for the Sardinian church in developing new initiatives to reach the young, who “are often victims of a widespread nihilism.”
With Mary’s intercession, “May she help you evangelize the world of work, of the economy and of politics, which needs a new generation of committed lay Christians, capable of seeking solutions of sustainable development with competency and moral rigor," the Pope prayed as he closed his homily.
At the end of the Eucharistic celebration, Benedict XVI performed an act of consecration to Mary which concluded with the gift of a golden rose to Our Lady of Bonaria.