The tenth International Youth Forum closed in Rome yesterday with the celebration of Palm Sunday Mass by Pope Benedict XVI. Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Vatican dicastery that organized the summit, summarized the week’s lessons for the youth in some words of advice about pursuing Christian love.
The Forum, "Learning to Love," was organized for 300 young people from 93 countries who represented more than 30 Catholic associations. The participants took part in workshops and discussions, and heard speakers throughout the week who took on themes corresponding to the beauty of Christian love as a vocation in modern society.
In his address, Cardinal Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, highlighted the Christian living as "a fascinating life project" and "not the frustration of our longing for happiness" as the media sometimes depicts it.
The Italian bishops' SIR news agency reported some highlights of the cardinal's address to the 300 participants, including the beauty of marriage, the priesthood and the Christian life, the importance of trusting in Christ and the freedom offered to Christians through their full commitment to God.
He told the youth to "trust Christ completely" because he "will not take away anything that is beautiful and has real value in life."
Offering some suggestions to the participants, he told them to " be careful not to grow old too soon," asking that they maintain the passion to grow, ask much of themselves and stay true to "the great ideals of love."
"Do not be afraid of becoming saints," he implored them.
Cardinal Rylko told the group that to be able to enjoy their freedom, they must "educate" it, because a part of freedom is the element of being able to make judgments and staying committed for a lifetime.
"Those who want to live their own life must be able to be converted every day, to question themselves again, every day, in front of God," he continued.
Cardinal Rylko drew his remarks to a close by urging the youth to be committed to building support networks in Christian communities, because "alone we are weak, together it is easier to discover things, to be supported by other people."
Pope Benedict greeted the delegates after Palm Sunday Mass, congratulating them on completing the week of spiritual exercises that took place in nearby Rocca di Papa from March 24-28.