Young people called to be apostles to their friends, Pope Benedict says

Pope Benedict at Castel Gandolfo Angelus
Pope Benedict at Castel Gandolfo Angelus

.- Before the recitation of the Angelus on Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI spoke about his July 12-21 trip to Australia for the 23rd World Youth Day. Recounting his experiences at the Sydney event, he encouraged young people to follow the example of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati by being apostles to their friends.

Speaking from the balcony of his summer residence at Castel Gandolfo, the Holy Father described World Youth Day as an “extraordinary experience.” He told his audience that in Sydney he met the “youthful face of the Church,” a “multicolor mosaic, composed of boys and girls from the world over, united in one faith in Jesus Christ.”

The World Youth Days begun by John Paul II, the Holy Father continued, reveal how “faith in Christ makes us all sons of the only Father who is in heaven and builders of the civilization of love.”

Pope Benedict spoke about the Holy Spirit, “unique to the Sydney gathering,” whom Christ promised would descend on the apostles. He added that the Sydney World Youth Day had been transformed into a “new Pentecost,” with the young people “called to be apostles to their peers.”  The Holy Father offered Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati as an example of one who shared his “personal experience with Jesus” with his acquaintances, thereby changing “the lives of his friends with the power of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the love of God.”

Pope Benedict thanked the bishops of Australia, in particular the Archbishop of Sydney, for their preparations and hospitality shown toward him and the pilgrims. He also thanked Australia’s civil authorities for their collaboration and expressed gratitude to those around the world who prayed for the success of World Youth Day.

The Holy Father concluded by asking his audience to remain united with him in prayer as he travels to Bressanone tomorrow for his summer holiday.

After the Angelus, Pope Benedict directed these words towards the English-speaking pilgrims: “I greet the English-speaking visitors and pilgrims who are here today and I wish you all a pleasant stay in Italy. This Sunday’s Gospel reminds us that we should treasure above all else the faith that has been given to us. I pray that your visit to Rome and the surrounding area will help you to deepen your faith and to grow in your love for our Lord Jesus Christ. May God bless you all!”

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