.- Over the weekend, Pope Benedict XVI visited the southern Italian Archdiocese of Brindisi-Ostuni. After being welcomed the regionâs young people, the Holy Father challenged them to live lives rich in values instead of seeking after material possessions. He also called on the youth to, âBe apostles to your peers."
The Pope began his remarks by first addressing the civil authorities who greeted him. Recalling that Brindisi has always been a place of refuge, he encouraged the people of the region to âdefend the family, the solid foundation upon which to build the life of all society."
Turning then to address young people, the Holy Father explained how he well understood both their enthusiasm for life and the problems afflicting them. "In particular," he said, "I understand the burden weighing upon many of you, and upon your future, because of the dramatic problem of unemployment. ... In the same way, I know that your youth is threatened by the lure of easy earnings, and by the temptation to find refuge in artificial paradises or to allow yourselves to be attracted by warped forms of material satisfaction.â
"Do not let yourselves be ensnared by the trap of evil," Benedict warned the youth. "Seek a life rich in values, in order to create a more just society, one more open to the future. ... It is up to you ... to ensure that progress becomes a greater good for everyone. And the path of goodness, as you know, has a name: it is called love."
"The love of God has the sweet and compassionate face of Jesus Christ," the Holy Father said, explaining that this brings us âto the heart of the Christian Message: Christ is the answer to your queries and problems. ... Follow Him faithfully. And, in order to be able to meet Him, love His Church, feel responsible for her, do not seek to avoid being - each in his or her own environment - courageous protagonists."
"You are the young face of the Church. Do not fail, then, to make your contribution so the Gospel she proclaims may spread everywhere. Be apostles to your peers," Pope Benedict challenged.