Pope encourages youth and tells them to bring their lost friends to World Youth Day

Vatican City, Jul 4, 2007 / 08:45 am (CNA) .- At the end of today's general audience, the Pope addressed all young people who are preparing for the next World Youth Day with a message of encouragement to grow deeper in the faith and a challenge to share that faith with others.

Benedict encouraged the young people "to prepare well for this marvelous celebration of the faith. ... Enter fully into the life of your parishes and participate enthusiastically in diocesan events! In this way you will be equipped spiritually to experience new depths of understanding of all that we believe when we gather in Sydney next July."

"I know that already the ecclesial and government authorities, together with numerous young Australians, are working very hard to ensure an exceptional experience for us all. I offer them my heartfelt thanks.

"World Youth Day is much more than an event," Pope Benedict added. "It is a time of deep spiritual renewal, the fruits of which benefit the whole of society."

"Some of you have friends with little real purpose in their lives, perhaps caught up in a futile search for endless new experiences. Bring them to World Youth Day too! In fact, I have noticed that against the tide of secularism many young people are rediscovering the satisfying quest for authentic beauty, goodness and truth. Through your witness you help them in their search for the Spirit of God."

The Holy Father left the youth with the exhortation, "Be courageous in that witness! Strive to spread Christ's guiding light, which gives purpose to all life, making lasting joy and happiness possible for everyone."

CNA has made the full text of the Pope's message available in our documents section. Click here for the message.