VATICAN CITY - In his message for World Youth Day 2013, the Pope asked young people to welcome Christ’s embrace and share with others the joy of being loved by Him.

In preparation for the international youth gathering July 23-28 in Rio de Janiero, Pope Benedict XVI asked young Catholics to “reread your personal history,” looking at how the faith was passed down to them from previous generations.

The Pope also asked them not to wait to begin the task of sharing their Christian faith with others.

“We are links in a great chain of men and women who have transmitted the truth of the faith and who depend on us to pass it on to others,” he said in the message released Nov. 16 by the Vatican.
The theme of World Youth Day 2013 is “Go and make disciples of all nations.”

“This mandate should resound powerfully in your hearts,” the Pope told young people.

In fact, he said, the heart has a major role to play in bringing them closer to Christ, motivating them to share His Gospel and determining the words and actions they should use in approaching others.

“Many young people today seriously question whether life is something good and have a hard time finding their way,” the Pope said.

Faith helps people see that “every human life is priceless, because each of us is the fruit of God’s love,” he said. “God loves everyone, even those who have fallen away from Him or disregard Him.”

Pope Benedict asked young Catholics to reach out with love to their questioning or doubting peers, helping them find the hope and meaning faith brings.

As the Catholics most impacted by globalization and new technology, Pope Benedict said, young people need a special awareness and have special responsibilities in those areas.

“We are passing through a very particular period of history,” he told them. “Technical advances have given us unprecedented possibilities for interaction between peoples and nations. But the globalization of these relationships will be positive and help the world to grow in humanity only if it is founded on love rather than on materialism.”

“Love is the only thing that can fill hearts and bring people together,” he said.

While asking the young to bring their Christian values to their social media networks and other online activities, he also cautioned them to use the media wisely.

“Be aware of the hidden dangers they contain, especially the risk of addiction, of confusing the real world with the virtual, and of replacing direct and personal encounters and dialogue with Internet contacts,” he said.

Pope Benedict also told the young people that the responsibility to share the faith flows from their baptism into the Church, is sustained by prayer, nourished by receiving the Eucharist, purified through confession and strengthened by confirmation.

“If you are to remain firm in professing the Christian faith wherever you are sent, you need the Church,” he said. “No one can bear witness to the Gospel alone.”

Published in Youth Speak News

Somewhere in Toronto today there’s a 10-year-old kid who got a second lease on life at World Youth Day 2002. Dr. Katherine Rouleau remembers that premature baby with all the awe and confusion doctors regularly bring to miracles.

“We had a baby who was quite sick. Actually, it was a newborn of a couple who were so grateful that their premature child had survived that they showed up at Downsview at the crack of dawn in the sweltering heat,” recalled Rouleau.

Rouleau was medical director of World Youth Day 2002. On July 28 a decade ago she had 800,000 potential patients corralled into an open field at the north end of Toronto. Many of them had endured a night of cold and rain, praying the Divine Office and singing through the night. Under the morning sun, people continued streaming in. And then it was raining again as Pope John Paul II arrived to celebrate Mass with them.

Published in Features

World Youth Day 2002 in Toronto was not a show, a rave party, a protest or photo opportunity. It was an invitation and a proposal for something new. Against a global background of terror and fear, economic collapse in many countries and ecclesial scandals, World Youth Day 2002 presented a bold, alternative vision of compelling beauty, hope and joy.

We may choose to speak of our World Youth Days as something in the past — that brightened the shadows and monotony of our lives at one shining moment in history in 2002. Some may wish to call those golden days of July 2002 “Camelot” moments. That is one way to consider the WYD — fading memories of an extraordinary moment in Canadian  history.

Published in Features

DUBLIN - As the plainchant of "Tantum Ergo" drew the eucharistic procession to a close, the presiding prelates began to filter away. That's when some trip hop music erupted at the back of the massive assembly of pilgrims, which moments before had been on its knees in prayer and adoration.

Published in Features

TORONTO - As part of the new direction of the archdiocese of Toronto’s Office of Catholic Youth, the office won’t be organizing a trip to Rio de Janeiro for World Youth Day 2013, said director Fr. Frank Portelli.

“It was discussed at the Council of Priests and it was decided that it would be better if the parishes work on their own groups to go down so it would be more parish-based initiatives,” Portelli told The Catholic Register.

Published in Youth Speak News

Lack of Holy Communion, the availability of water and a failed media structure were only some of the problems faced by Canadians at World Youth Day in Madrid, an evaluation from nearly 6,000 young Canadians, 24 bishops and more than 100 priests, deacons and religious found.

“So it was fraught with logistical difficulties, some of which are linked to the fact of any large event, but some clearly to a lack of preparation and foresight,” said Fr. Thomas Rosica, who at the request of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops spearheaded the formal evaluation of the Spanish event in 2011. 

Published in Youth Speak News

RIO DE JANEIRO - Officials of World Youth Day 2013 unveiled the winning logo for the event at a ceremony attended by more than 100 Brazilian bishops, government officials and local organizers.

Gustavo Huguenin, 25, creator of the winning logo, is a Brazilian from the interior of Rio de Janeiro state. The contest was opened to anyone, and the logo was chosen by a Vatican council from more than 200 entries from around the world.

Published in Youth Speak News

VATICAN CITY - Knowing one is loved by God gives life meaning and gives one the energy needed to carry on with joy, even in difficult personal or societal situations, Pope Benedict XVI told top Vatican officials.

Meeting members of the Roman Curia Dec. 22 for his annual exchange of Christmas greetings, the pope said the "faith fatigue" seen in various areas of church life contrasts sharply with the faith and joy he witnessed during World Youth Day in Madrid and during his November trip to Benin.

The two trips, he said, hold lessons for church leaders and for the faithful.

Published in International
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