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Tuesday, April 21, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 21 APR 2009 (VIS) - A communique released by the Pontifical Council for the Laity announces that at the general audience tomorrow, Wednesday 22 April, the Pope will recall the 25th anniversary of the consignment of the World Youth Day cross by John Paul II to young people of the world.

  During the Holy Year of Redemption (1983-1984), John Paul II ordered a simple wooden cross be erected next to the altar in St. Peter's Basilica. At the close of the Holy Year, exactly 25 years ago, he consigned that same cross to the youth of the world, saying: "Take this into the world as a sign of the Lord Jesus' love for humankind, and tell everyone that only through Christ, Who died and rose again, comes salvation and redemption".

  The communique goes on: "The invitation was taken literally by the young people of the San Lorenzo International Youth Centre. ... And since then, for twenty-five years, the cross has never ceased to travel the world, visiting above all the countries in which World Youth Days have been held, but carrying a sign of hope also to other places such as the continent of Africa, where it was welcomed with great devotion by thousands of young people". Furthermore, "from 2003, in accordance with the wishes of Pope John Paul II, the cross has been accompanied on its pilgrimage by the Marian icon 'Salus Popoli Romani', as a sign of Mary's maternal protection".

  During tomorrow's general audience, Benedict XVI will once again consign the cross to young people of the San Lorenzo Centre, in the presence of Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, the Vatican dicastery responsible for organising World Youth Days. At the end of the audience the cross and the icon of Mary will be borne in procession to the San Lorenzo Centre, pausing in St. Peter's Square so those present can venerate them. That afternoon the procession will pass through the historic centre of Rome as far as Piazza Navona. The celebration of the anniversary will conclude at 5 p.m. at the San Lorenzo Centre with an hour of adoration, followed by Mass.

  The cross, known as the "WYD Cross", will then leave for a brief pilgrimage through Poland before moving on to Spain where it will be taken through all the dioceses of the country in preparation for the 26th World Youth Day, due to be held in Madrid in August 2011.
CON-L/ANNIVERSARY WYD CROSS/RYLKO                VIS 20090421 (430)

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