Pope: Youth Day a New Pentecost

Says He Saw "Youthful Face" of Church

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, JULY 27, 2008 (Zenit.org).- World Youth Day was a new Pentecost from which the pilgrims were sent to be apostles to their contemporaries, says Benedict XVI.



The Pope commented today on his trip to Australia for the 23rd World Youth Day before reciting the midday Angelus with several thousand people gathered in the courtyard of the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome.

"I still have this extraordinary occasion," he said, "in which I experienced the youthful face of the Church, on my mind and in my heart: It was like a multicolored mosaic, formed by young men and women from every part of the globe, all gathered together in the one faith in Jesus Christ."

The Holy Father said the youth attending the event were called “young pilgrims of the world,” an expression he said "captures the essential in these international meetings initiated by John Paul II."

"These gatherings in fact form the stages of a great pilgrimage across the world, to show how faith in Christ makes us all children of one Father who is in heaven and builders of a civilization of love," the Pontiff said.

Benedict XVI continued: "The awareness of the Holy Spirit, protagonist of the life of the Church and of each Christian, was characteristic of the meeting in Sydney.

"The long journey of preparation in the local Churches followed the theme of these words of the risen Christ to the apostles: 'You Will Receive Power When the Holy Spirit Has Come Upon You and You Will be My Witnesses.'"

Commenting on the week of events, the Pope called the catechetical sessions "moments of reflection and recollection that were indispensable for making the event one that, instead of being a merely external manifestation, would leave a deep impression on the conscience."

"The evening vigil, in the heart of the city, beneath the Southern Cross," he said, "was a choral invocation of the Holy Spirit; and at the end, during the large Eucharistic celebration last Sunday, I administered the sacrament of confirmation to 24 young people from different continents, 14 of whom were Australian, inviting all present to renew their baptismal vows."

World Youth Day was "transformed into a new Pentecost," the Pontiff said, "from which the mission of the young people, called to be apostles to their contemporaries, was relaunched."