.- Bishops from Spain recently addressed a message to young Catholics, inviting them to participate in World Youth Day 2011. The bishops said the youth celebration will be an authentic festival of faith and a chance to go on an interior pilgrimage towards Christ.
The bishops told the young people in their message that the Catholic Church has always looked to the youth “with hope and joy because you are the present, and above all, the future of society and of the Church.”
The message was released March 2 as the bishops concluded their 97th Plenary Assembly.
“We also, as your bishops, trust in you and consider you not only as recipients of the Gospel of Christ, but also as protagonists of the building of the Church and of her history,” they said.
The bishops recalled the theme of World Youth Day, “Planted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the faith.” They then encouraged young people “to fortify and build up your faith, to deepen your roots in Christ, who loves you and calls you to friendship with Him.” The bishop added that Christ invites them “to follow Him in the priesthood, the consecrated life or in marriage to make of you His witnesses.”
The Spanish bishops also referred to the upcoming May 1 beatification of John Paul II. “The Pope of young people” always invited the youth to give themselves “completely to the love of God and of man and to lead a Christian life that is free of all mediocrity and if necessary, counter cultural in our times.
“How many times he invited you to be saints! He began the passionate endeavor of World Youth Day with all of you in mind,” the bishops said.
They encouraged young people to take advantage of the week-long event to pray personally and as a community. World Youth Day will thus be an authentic festival of faith that will highlight the crucial role Christians play in today’s world as “builders of peace, promoters of justice, and advocates of more humane world according to God’s plan,” they continued.
The bishops also urged the young people of Spain to welcome their brothers and sisters from around the world and to volunteer for the event.
World Youth Day 2011 will take place Aug. 16 – 21 in Madrid, the capital of Spain.