12,000 Young People Commit Selves to Cause of Peace

Conference of "Youth for Unity" at Colosseum

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ROME, MAY 28, 2002 (Zenit.org).- More than 12,000 youths assembled in the Colosseum from 92 countries and a range of religions renewed their commitment to build a future of peace.



"It is necessary to invade the world with love, an unrestricted love," said Chiara Lubich, founder and president of the Focolare Movement.

The event Sunday was a sort of young people´s version of the January meeting of religious leaders in Assisi.

As was the case in St. Francis´ city, in the Colosseum the young people repeated the golden rule of believers of all religions: "Do unto others what you would like them to do unto you." Among the youths were Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox, Jews, Muslims and Buddhists.

The event was the "super-congress," organized every five years by Youth for Unity, who belong to the Focolare Movement.

Muslim youths present at the meeting voiced their commitment. "We Muslim youths want to commit ourselves with you to love everywhere, at all times, without expecting anything in return," they said in a statement. "We are certain that each one of us will be a builder of peace around himself, if we ask for God´s help."

Testimonies and songs marked the event, held in the ancient circus of gladiators. John Paul II sent a message for the occasion.

"I invite you to be apostles of peace. Build peace in all situations in which you live daily," the papal text stated.

Chiara Lubich also had a message for the youths. "Although several months have already gone by," she said, "it is true that that very sad Sept. 11 continues to be alive in your young hearts, and it is especially alive these days, in which new and similar threats of terrorism seem to be looming."

"In the face of these situations and of all other forms of violence, the thought comes to mind that all this is not just the fruit of hatred between individuals and peoples, but also the effect of the dark force of evil, with a capital ´E,´ of darkness, as the Pope says," the Focolare founder said.

"Therefore, the situation is serious, because it is not enough to oppose this danger only with human strength," Lubich continued. "It is necessary to involve the forces of good, with a capital ´G.´ And you all know what this good is: Above all it is God and all that has its origin in him, the world of the spirit, of great values, of authentic love, of prayer."

Before undertaking a peace march to St. Peter´s Square, the 12,000 youths signed a commitment to be builders of peace.

For more information see www.supercongresso.net.