Pope Benedict has issued his message to the youth preparing for World Youth Day 2008 in Sydney, Australia. In his discussion of the theme for the gathering, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you will be my witnesses,” the Holy Father called for a new Pentecost.
As individual registration for WYD 2008 kicked off, Pope Benedict became “pilgrim number one” in the list of those awaiting the event that marks a time of renewal for the youth of the Church.
The strongest parts of the Holy Father’s message told the youth of the need for invoking a new Pentecost on the world and the necessity of being missionaries to their peers.
Ever aware of young people’s growing unease about their future, the injustices they see in the world, and their questions about how to react to violence and egoism which is growing in the world, Benedict told them that the Holy Spirit can answer these doubts and tragedies.
He also exhorted the youth, “Don’t forget the greatness of God’s gift, the fruits of the Holy Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, meekness and self-control.” These can heal a wounded world and the world of today’s youth.
The Pope called upon the youth to, “Become the new soul of humanity by being credible witnesses of the Church’s mission to the world.” He noted that, “We can only be Christ’s missionaries if we allow ourselves to be guided by the Holy Spirit.”
Showing that he knows the culture’s fear of the faith, Benedict told the youth that, “Today it’s more necessary than ever to present the Gospel and witness to the faith. Some people see giving witness to their faith as being intolerant, but … representing Christ doesn’t mean imposing Christ. In the end, only Christ can fulfill man’s innermost desires.”
The Pope closed his message to the youth by telling them that as Australia is preparing to welcome them, Australia and all of Oceania is also preparing for a New Evangelization. Thus, “as we prepare our pilgrimage to Sydney we must prepare ourselves for a new Pentecost for the Church and humanity, in the Third Millennium.”