On Tuesday evening, Pope Benedict XVI was honored by a number of youth organizations and others in a ceremony themed: "So many hearts around the Pope, messenger of peace."
The celebration, held in the Paul VI Hall of the Vatican was organized and sponsored by the Family of St. Luigi Orione, the Youth Missionary Service - Arsenal of Peace from the Italian city of Turin, the Italian Civil Protection and the "Papaboys" Association.
According to the Vatican, the attendees included a number of Italian singers, and a delegation of young disabled people from Poland, Jordan and Italy.
Addressing the crowd, Holy Father recalled how St. Luigi Orione would "speak with intense affection of the person of the Pope, recognizing his role not only within the Church but also at the service of the entire human family."
Pope Benedict also reflected on the theme of the evening and the specific role of the pope to be a "messenger of peace," asking, "How can I not take advantage of your presence to render homage to so many silent 'builders of peace' who, through their testimony and their sacrifice, strive to promote dialogue between people, to overcome all forms of conflict and division, and to make of our world a homeland of peace and fraternity for all men and women?"
The Holy Father encouraged the group, "each in their own field and in accordance with their possibilities, to offer their collaboration in safeguarding the dignity of all men, in defending human life and in undertaking decisive action for authentic peace in all social fields."
Specifically addressing the young people of the group, Pope Benedict recalled that his predicessor, John Paul II liked to say "that you young people are the hope and future of the Church and of humanity. May there be an ever greater will in everyone's heart to create a world of authentic and stable peace."
He likewise noted that John Paul's cause for beatification began earlier that day.