Sunday, April 22, 2007

Pope Benedict's address to the youth in Pavia

~from Papa Ratzinger Forum

Dear brothers and sisters,

After having spent the afternoon in Vigevano, here I am among you in Pavia with the majestic and imposing 15th century Cathedral as our backdrop.

For centuries, this Church has zealously guarded, as in a precious casket, the remains of St. Cyrus, first Bishop of the III-IV century, although these relics are presently kept provisionally in the Church of Carmel.

I thank you all for having waited for me and welcoming me with such warmth. In this our first meeting, I wish to greet the Honorable Madame Mayor and the representative of the Italian government, to whom I am grateful for their kind words.

I also greet the other civilian authorities present. And I address a special greeting to the pastor of this Diocese, Bishop Giovanni Giudici, and together with him, all the priests, religious, and everyone who is actively dedicated to pastoral work.

But I wish to direct a particularly affectionate greeting to you, dear young people, who have assembled in such great numbers for this, my first contact with your Diocese. For the Diocese, you represent hope and the future, and so I am happy to begin my visit by meeting with you.

I come tonight to renew to you the news that is always fresh, to entrust to you a message which, when received, changes our existence, renews it and fills it. The Church proclaims this message with particular joy in this Easter period: Christ is risen and lives among us!

How many persons of your age, dear young people, have met Him and become His friends in the course of history. They followed Him faithfully and many gave witness of their love with their own lives!

Do not therefore be afraid to give your life to Christ: He never disappoints our expectations because He knows what is in our hearts.

Following Him faithfully, it will not be difficult for you to find answers to the questions you carry in your spirit: "What should I do? What mission awaits me in life?"

The Church, which needs your commitment to bring the evangelical message to your contemporaries, sustains you in the journey of knowledge in the faith and love for God and your brothers.

Society, which in our time is marked by numerous social changes, awaits your contribution to construct a common existence, a living together, which is less selfish and more harmonious, truly animated by the great ideals of justice, freedom and peace.

And that is your mission, dear young people! May the Risen Christ accompany you, and together with Him, the Virgin Mary, His mother and ours. With her example and her constant intercession, may Our Lady help you not to be discouraged in times of failure and to trust always in the Lord.

I thank you again for your presence, and I bless you all with affection.

Good night, and arrivederci till tomorrow.

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