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Friday, March 18, 2005


VATICAN CITY, MAR 18, 2005 (VIS) - Thousands of young people gathered last evening at St. John Lateran Basilica in Rome for a prayer encounter and Eucharistic adoration in preparation for the 20th World Youth Day to be held in Cologne, Germany in August. They were welcomed by Cardinal Camillo Ruini who read a message to them from Pope John Paul who, through a video linkup with his private study, greeted the young people in silence and blessed them. The youth reciprocated with long and enthusiastic applause.

  "I wish to spiritually join you," said the Pope in his message, "and to express all my affection for you: I know that you are always close to me and you never tire of praying for me. I greet you and thank you from the bottom of my heart."

  The Pope then prayed: "We raise together our eyes to Jesus the Eucharist. ... Jesus, we adore You hidden in the host! In a time marked by hatred, egoism, the desire for false happiness, decadent behavior, the absence of paternal and maternal figures, instability in so many young families and the fragility and uneasiness of which young people are victims, we look to You, Jesus Eucharist with renewed hope. Notwithstanding our sins, we trust in Your Divine Mercy. ... The heavenly Father created us in His image and likeness; from Him we have received the gift of life that, the more we recognize it as precious from the moment of its beginning to death, the more threatened and manipulated it becomes."

  The message continued: "We adore You, Jesus Eucharist. We adore Your body and blood given for us and for all in the remission of sins. ... As we adore You, how can we not think about the many things we should do to give You glory? ... Help us, Jesus, to understand that 'to do' in Your Church, .... it is important above all 'to be', that is, to stay with You in adoration, in Your gentle company."

  John Paul II prayed that each young person present place Jesus at the center of their lives, commit to building "a civilization of love, and participate in Sunday, and even daily, Mass." He said he hoped that many vocations to the consecrated life and to the priesthood would be born as well as "generous vocations to holiness, which is the high measure of ordinary Christian life, especially in families: It is this which the Church and society most needs today."

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