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WYD 2011. Benedict XVI to the youth: “We can not follow Jesus on our own”

22 agosto 2011

August 21, 2011. ( After a night vigil that was marked by the rain, Benedict XVI concelebrated the closing Mass with thousands of bishops and priests in the Cuatro Vientos aerodrome.

More people attended the reception than was expected. Additional space was created for the 200,000 pilgrims who couldn’t access the night vigil with the pope.

The archbishop of Madrid then thanked the pope for his visit.

Card. Antonio Maria Rouco Varela
Archbishop of Madrid

“After a night vigil spent in intense Eucharistic Prayer and after having spent the night in ‘Cuatro Vientos’, the youth of World Youth Day 2011, accompanied by their priests, they form this ligurgical assembly of a solemn Eucharist in which Catholocism of the Church shines like few others. It’s the climax of World Youth Day.”

Benedict XVI stressed that faith is a gift, it’s not only dependent on human will. He also pointed to young people to recognize the importance of Christ in life.

Benedict XVI
“Today Christ is asking you the same question which he asked the Apostles: ‘Who do you say that I am’? Respond to him with generosity and courage, as befits young hearts like your own. Say to him: ‘Jesus, I know that you are the Son of God, who have given your life for me. I want to follow you faithfully and to be led by your word. You know me and love me. I place my trust in you and I put my whole life into your hands.”

The pope recalled that the Church is not just an institution but is very close to God and has highlighted the need to live Christianity.

Benedict XVI
“Let me also remind you that following Jesus in faith means walking at his side in the communion of the Church. We can not follow Jesus on our own. Anyone who would be tempted to do so ‘on his own’, or to approacht the life of faith with kind of individualism so prevalent today, will risk nevfer truly encountering Jesus, or will end up following a counterfeit Jesus.”

Benedict XVI stressed the need for evangilization because as he noted that one “can not know Christ and not make Him known to others.”

Benedict XVI
“The presence here of so many young people, coming from all over the world, is a wonderful proof of the fruitfulness of Christ’s command to the Church: ‘Go into the world and preach the gospel to all creation.’”

Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko thanked the pope for his presence at this World Youth Day and remembered John Paul II, who created the event 25 years ago.

Card. Stanislaw Rylko
President Pontifical Council for the Laity

“At the end of these wonderful days spent in Madrid, full of joy, young people want to express to you, Holy Father, their deep filial devotion and gratitude.Thank you for presiding over this WYD! Thank you for these words you have addressed to the youth – words of hope that illuminate their paths.”

The pope ended the Mass with the blessing of the crosses that were handed out to the pilgrims.

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