Vatican City, Sep 3, 2010 / 17:14 pm
Drawing on the metaphor of a plant that grows firm on a foundation of strong roots, Pope Benedict XVI asked youth in his message for World Youth Day 2011 to strengthen their faith to counter the influence of secular society. The presence of youth, he wrote, "renews, rejuvenates and gives new energy to the Church."
Directing his words to all youth who might be interested in coming, the Holy Father encouraged participation in the "decisive" experience offered by World Youth Day 2011. The encounter is set to take place in Madrid, Spain from Aug. 16-21 under the theme "Planted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the faith."
Imploring young people to pursue their yearning for "something really truly greater," Pope Benedict challenged them to confront secular culture. Next year's celebration, he wrote, comes at an important time "when Europe greatly needs to rediscover its Christian roots."
Against what he called the "eclipse of God" in a contemporary culture that has the tendency to exclude God and consider faith only relevant to the private sphere, he encouraged youth to strengthen their faith, exclaiming, "You are the future of society and of the Church!"