Tewnty-third World Youth Day: A Renewed Pentecost


VATICAN CITY, 6 JUL 2008 - At midday today, Benedict XVI appeared at the balcony overlooking the inner courtyard of the Apostolic Palace at Castelgandolfo, where he is currently spending a few days rest, in order to pray the Angelus with pilgrims gathered there.

Before the Marian prayer, the Pope spoke of his forthcoming trip to Sydney, Australia, for the 23rd World Youth Day, recalling how "over past months the 'Cross of Youth' has been carried across all Oceania, and in Sydney it will once more stand as silent witness to the covenant between the Lord Jesus Christ and the new generations. ... I invite the Church to participate in this latest stage of the great youth pilgrimage across the world, which was begun in 1985 by Servant of God John Paul II".

The Holy Father described 23rd World Youth Day as "a renewed Pentecost", because "for a year Christian communities have been preparing themselves in accordance with the indications I gave in my Message on the theme: 'You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses'".

This promise of Jesus to His disciples following the Resurrection "always retains its validity and importance for the Church", said the Pope. "The Holy Spirit, which we hope for and welcome in prayer, infuses believers with the capacity to be witnesses to Jesus and to His Gospel. Blowing into the sails of the Church, the divine Spirit encourages her 'to put out into the deep', ever and anew, generation after generation, so as to carry to everyone the good news of God's love, fully revealed in Jesus Christ".

"I am certain that Catholics from all corners of the earth will join me and the young people gathered, as in a Cenacle, in Sydney, calling upon the Holy Spirit to inundate hearts with inner light, with love for God and for neighbour, with the courage to introduce Jesus' eternal message into the various languages and cultures".

The Pope concluded his reflections by invoking Mary's intercession, especially in this season "that the summer may offer everyone the chance for a period of rest and of physical and spiritual renewal".