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 CNS Story:

POPE-WYD Nov-16-2012 (540 words) With photo. xxxi

Pope tells young to welcome Christ's embrace, share his love

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- When young Catholics from around the world gather in Rio de Janeiro in July, they will be under the gaze of the city's famous statue of Christ with outstretched arms, a reminder of his desire to embrace all people, Pope Benedict XVI said.

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, Pope Benedict 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."

- - -

Editors: The full text of the pope's message in English is available at: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/messages/youth/documents/hf_ben-xvi_mes_20121018_youth_en.html.

The text in Spanish can be found at: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/messages/youth/documents/hf_ben-xvi_mes_20121018_youth_sp.html.


Copyright (c) 2012 Catholic News Service/USCCB. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed.
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