VATICAN CITY, JAN 31, 2004 (VIS) - This morning in the Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father received 10,000 young people from the Youth Missionary Service (SERMIG - Arsenal of Peace, Turin, Italy), which for years has been dedicated to promoting concrete initiatives in favor of peace in various parts of the world.
The Pope affirmed: "You seek to be messengers, witnesses and tireless apostles of peace. Thank you for your youthful enthusiasm! Thank you for the hope you give to the Church and to the world!"
John Paul II addressed a special greeting to Ernesto Olivero, who founded the association forty years ago, and to the actors of Turin's "Teatro Stabile," who staged an artistic and musical performance.
After recalling the theme of the meeting, "Peace will win if we talk together," the Pope highlighted "the close connection that exists between respect for others, dialogue and peace." And he added, "in our own time, characterized by a dense network of exchanges between different cultures and religions, it is necessary to promote and facilitate acceptance and reciprocal understanding between individuals and peoples. Your Fraternity is dedicated to this mission and offers a much-appreciated contribution to the cause of peace."
The Holy Father went on to refer to the "University of Dialogue" which, he said, "seeks to give a voice to young people from all nations, cultures and religions so as to build a world in which everyone is a full member of the single human family. This dialogue must embrace all aspects of social, economic and religious life."
"In the face of increasing violence, of a spreading hedonistic and consumerist mentality, and of growing diffidence and fear, we most vigorously reaffirm that peace is possible and that, being possible, it is also right and necessary. This conviction has guided you", he concluded, "in the four decades of your history."
AC/PEACE/SERMIG VIS 20040202 (320)