The apostolic nuncio to Brazil expressed joy Sept. 18 as the World Youth Day cross arrived in Brazil. He explained that Pope Benedict XVI wants the Brazilian youth to welcome it and to carry it to Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay, the countries that make up the region of South America known as the Southern Cone.
“The Pope is entrusting this important mission to you, young people, to be the protagonists in the adventure that is carrying the cross and the icon of Our Lady to all of Brazil and the Southern Cone,” said Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri. “Therefore, embrace the desire of the cross and cultivate the joy of living and of achieving happiness.”
He noted that the cross represents Christ and that only the Lord “can give us a new spirit of fidelity in the mission because it is he who compels us to bear witness to the faith.”
For his part, Cardinal Raymundo Damasceno, the president of the Brazilian bishops' conference, thanked Benedict XVI for choosing Brazil to host World Youth Day 2013. The cross and the icon, he said, have great meaning for young people.
“From now until 2013, we will be experiencing a favorable time of evangelization, a time to involve young people in the life of the Church, to convey the patrimony of the faith to the new generations,” the cardinal said.
“May the eternal youth of Mary encourage us to persevere in following Jesus Christ. You, young people, are the hope of Brazil, the sentinels of the morning,” he added.
The World Youth Day cross and icon will be taken to each diocese in Brazil through November 2012. From Dec. 1-31, 2012, it will be taken to the capital city of each country in the Southern Cone.