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On Youth Day and the G-8

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, JULY 6, 2008 (Zenit.org) — Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI delivered before reciting the midday Angelus with several thousand people gathered in the courtyard of the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo:

[Before the Angelus]
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

First of all I would like to greet affectionately the authorities and entire civil and ecclesial community of Castel Gandolfo, who, during my stay, always give me a cordial and caring reception.

My thoughts already go to Australia where, God willing, I will travel next Saturday, July 12. In Sydney, in fact, in the southeast of the country, the 23rd World Youth Day will take place. In past months, the "young people's cross" has been taken all over Oceania and in Sydney it will be once again a silent witness of the pact of alliance between the Lord Jesus Christ and the new generations. Foreseen for July 15 is the welcome celebration for youth. The great vigil will take place on the 19th and the Eucharistic celebration on Sunday the 20th, the culminating and concluding moment of the event.

The Australian episcopal conference has planned everything carefully, at all times supported by the collaboration of the civil authorities. The first groups of young men and women from other continents are already leaving for Australia. I invite the whole Church to share in this new stage of the great pilgrimage of young people across the world, begun in 1985 by the Servant of God John Paul II.

The forthcoming World Youth Day is proclaimed as a new Pentecost. In fact, the Christian communities have been preparing following the path I indicated in the message with the theme "You Will Receive Power When the Holy Spirit Has Come Upon You; and You Will Be My Witnesses " (Acts 1:8). It is the promise Jesus made to his disciples after the resurrection, and which remains always valid and actual in the Church: The Holy Spirit, awaited and received in prayer, infuses in believers the capacity to be witnesses of Jesus and his Gospel.

Blowing on the Church's sail, the divine Spirit pushes her to "go into the deep," always anew, from generation to generation, to take to everyone the Good News of the love of God, revealed fully in Jesus Christ, dead and resurrected for us. I am certain that from all the corners of the earth Catholics will be united with me and with all the young people gathered -- as in the Cenacle -- in Sydney, intensely invoking the Holy Spirit so that he will flood hearts with the inner light of love of God and of brothers, and of courageous initiative to introduce Jesus' eternal message in the diversity of languages and cultures.

Along with the cross, the icon of the Virgin Mary accompanies the World Youth Days. We entrust to her maternal protection this trip to Australia and the meeting with young people in Sydney. Moreover, on this first Sunday of July, I wish to invoke the intercession of Mary so that the summer season might offer everyone the occasion for a time of rest and physical and spiritual renewal.

[After the Angelus]
Tomorrow, July 7, the heads of state of member countries of the G-8, together with other leaders of the world, will meet in Japan for their annual summit. In recent days numerous voices have been raised — among them those of the presidents of the episcopal conferences of the involved nations — to appeal for the carrying out of the commitments assumed in previous G-8 meetings, and to adopt all the measures necessary to overcome the scourge of extreme poverty, hunger, sicknesses and illiteracy that still affect a great part of humanity.

I also join myself to this solemn call to solidarity! Therefore, I address the participants in the Hokkaido-Toyako meeting, so that at the heart of their deliberations they will put the needs of the weakest and poorest peoples, whose vulnerability has increased because of speculation and financial turbulence and its adverse effects on the price of food and energy. I hope that generosity and foresight will help them to make decisions in regard to relaunching an equitable process of integral development to safeguard human dignity.

I greet affectionately the children and those accompanying them who are participating in the "International Festival of Children Artists 2008," organized by the "Soong Ching Ling Foundation of Italy." Love, concord, harmony and solidarity are the values that you want to promote in China and in the rest of the countries of the world. Art and culture can unite peoples. Children represent the future of the human family and, hence, are called in their own right to build a more beautiful and more human world. Your presence allows me to send good wishes of peace and joy to all your contemporaries in China and in the world.

[Translation by ZENIT]

[After the Angelus, the Holy Father greeted the people in several languages. In English, he said:]

I am happy to welcome all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present at this Angelus. During these months many will be taking their annual holiday. Let us pray that all who are travelling on the roads will do so in safety, with prudence and respect for others. In this way our summer break will truly be a time for relaxation, family life and friendship. In today's Gospel we are reminded by Jesus that children welcome the Kingdom of Heaven. Let us purify our hearts so that, like them, we may receive in simplicity the will of God and follow generously day by day the path marked out for us. I wish you all a pleasant stay in Castel Gandolfo and Rome, and a blessed Sunday!

© Copyright 2008 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana

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