Pope highlights call for 'firm' and 'planted' youth in WYD 2011 message

Benedict XVI at the Angelus prayer in Castel Gandolfo
Benedict XVI at the Angelus prayer in Castel Gandolfo


Speaking to youth in his message for World Youth Day 2011, Pope Benedict XVI said that the young person's relationship with Christ is fundamental to his reaching maturity. Christ, he added, gives young people all they need to confront life.

Having only just returned to Castel Gandolfo from a pastoral visit to Pope Leo XIII's hometown, the Holy Father recited the Angelus prayer with an enthusiastic collection pilgrims and faithful in the palace courtyard. Before speaking about the message for WYD 2011, he thanked the Lord for the opportunity to celebrate Leo XIII's birthday in Carpineto Romano, Italy on Sunday morning.

The Pope's Message for World Youth Day 2011 was only just released by the Holy See on Friday but carries the date of Aug. 6. The theme of the encounter, to be held in Madrid from Aug. 15-21, is "Planted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the faith."

Calling the theme from the book of Colossians “decidedly against the current,” he asked, “(w)ho, in fact, proposes to the young people of today to be 'planted' and 'firm'?”

Uncertainty, mobility and communication are exalted today, he pointed out, explaining that these are “all aspects that reflect an indecisive culture concerning the foundational values, principles on the basis of which one orients and regulates life.”

Drawing from his own personal experience and his contact with young people, the Holy Father said that he “know(s) well that every generation, indeed, every single person is called to remake the path of discovery of the meaning of life.”

For this reason, he said, the WYD 2011 message employs biblical references to the tree and construction. “The young person, in fact, is like a growing tree: to develop itself well it needs deep roots, which, in the case of a windstorm, keep it well planted in the ground.” On the other hand, he added, “sound foundations” can be seen in the image of the building.

The core of the message, he said, thus lies in the expressions “in Jesus Christ” and “in the faith.”

“Full maturity of the person (and) his interior stability have their foundation in the relationship with God, a relationship that passes through the encounter with Jesus Christ.” This relation of trust and friendship with Christ is capable of giving young people that which they need most to confront life, said the Pope. It's able to give them “serenity and interior light, an attitude to think positively, broad-mindedness towards others (and) availability to give personally for good, justice and truth.”

The fact that the young person is supported in the faith also by the Church is an important aspect to becoming a believer, he said, explaining that “if no man is an island, less so is the Christian, who discovers in the Church the beauty of the shared and witnessed faith together with others in the brotherhood and service of charity.”

Noting the significance of the date of the publication of the Message for WYD 2011, signed on the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord, he prayed, “May the light of the Face of Christ shine in the heart of every young person!

“And,” he added, “(may) the Virgin Mary accompany the path of the community and of the youth groups towards the great Encounter of Madrid 2011 with her protection.”

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