With just eight months to go until the Youth of the World descend on Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, Pope Benedict on Friday released his message for World Youth Day 2013 which has as its theme “Go and make disciples of all nations!” In the text divided into eight parts the Pope offers fatherly advice and encouragement to young people preparing for this great event calling on them to become disciples of Christ in this important year of Faith.
Beginning the message with “Dear Young Friends” the Holy Father recalls the celebrated statue of Christ the Redeemer over Rio De Janeiro saying that Christ’s open arms are a symbol of his “willingness to embrace all those who come to him.”
The Pope sends out a clarion call to the young people to build with enthusiasm a better world, a world that has seen many technical advances, but also a world, he points out, that needs to be founded on love rather than materialism.
The Holy Father goes on to urge young Christians to go out and be missionaries of evangelisation and to use the wonderful gifts God has given them to transmit the workings of the faith. The sacraments and prayer, he says are your foundation in this.
Offering words of encouraging and demonstrating his understanding of the problems young people face, Pope Benedict invites them to let “love overcome the tendency to remain enclosed in their own world with their own problems and habits. Have the courage, he says, “to “go out” from yourselves in order to “go forth” towards others and to show them the way to an encounter with God.”
New media also comes under the spotlight in this message with the Holy Father focusing his attention on young peoples affinity for these methods of communication, saying that it falls to them to use new media in order to evangelise but and the same time cautioning them to use these means wisely.
The Pope emphasises that young people are the future of the Church by saying that young priests, religious and lay people are highly valued, before adding “each of you, is a precious piece in the great mosaic of evangelization!”
Pope Benedict ends his message very much as he began it focusing on Rio ‘s Christ the Redeemer statue which he says is a sign that the heart of Jesus is open with love for each and every person. Finally, the Holy Father calls on young Christians, especially those in Latin America to go forth and bear witness to Christ’s love and be a new generation following in the footsteps of the Church’s great missionaries. Listen to Lydia O’Kane’s report