Fifty days after WYD, Pope Benedict, Cardinal Pell send messages to pilgrims

ppbxvixt080908 users received special messages from Pope Benedict and the Archbishop of Sydney, Australia, Cardinal George Pell to mark 50 days after the closing of World Youth Day 2008.  The prelates recalled the celebrations during the events and invited the young pilgrims to continue building their relationship with Jesus.

Each of the 30,000 users of received a short message from the Pope on Monday. The message reads:

“Dear Friends,

Fifty days ago we were together for the celebration of Mass. 
Today I greet you on the birthday of Mary, Mother of the Church. 

Empowered by the Spirit and courageous like Mary, your pilgrimage of faith fills the Church with life!

Soon I am to visit France.  I ask you all to join me in praying for the young people of France. 

May we all be rejuvenated in hope!  --BXVI”, a social networking site, was launched prior to World Youth Day 2008 as a way for pilgrims to connect before their visit and for young people who were not able to travel to Sydney to experience WYD in real time.

Cardinal Pell, who is also a member of, also addressed the youth by recalling the Pope’s visit and encouraging them to search, seek and act.

 “During our week together we experienced much joy and celebration, connection with a faithful fellowship of pilgrims, and unprecedented excitement and enthusiasm,” the cardinal said. 

Nevertheless, he noted, “this experience can be very difficult to sustain after you return to your home, parish, study and work. It is not expected that you could continue in this state of celebration and nor is it feasible to stage the kind of events we hosted in Sydney everyday. However, it is possible - and very important - that we sustain our relationship with Jesus Christ.”

Cardinal Pell offered young people three suggestions for continuing and growing their relationship with Jesus.

He first asked pilgrims to search for Christ through prayer. “It is important to spend time in prayer, and seek the grace of the Holy Spirit that we learned so much about with our theme ‘You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you will be my witnesses’ (Acts 1:8). If you are not used to prayer, start with something simple each day, talk to your parish priest or prayerful people that you know.”

He then encouraged the youth to seek the Sacraments.  “I encourage you to regularly seek out the Eucharist, the means in which our WYD Fellowship is held in Communion with Jesus Christ. You can also experience the power of the Holy Spirit through the mercy and compassion of forgiveness in the beautiful sacrament of Reconciliation. Seek your vocation and do not be afraid, for through this commitment we find life.”

Finally, the cardinal called on the pilgrims to “Act; as the apostle you know you are.  Pope Benedict XVI reminded us that our life is not governed by chance. Our existence is not random – it has been willed by God, blessed and given a purpose.

“Make use of your gifts and build the civilization of love starting with your family, friends and parish,” he encouraged everyone.

Cardinal Pell concluded his message by challenging the pilgrims to “Stay strong and keep close to the Lord!”

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