Pope John Paul II has said that the Church must be able to take the Gospel message to street kids.
    Following World Youth Day, which gathered over two million youths in Rome earlier this month, the Holy Father has gone one step further in challenging Catholics worldwide to take Christ's message not only to youths in parishes, but also to those who never enter a Church.
    Addressing several pilgrim groups at his Castel Gandolfo summer residence on Sunday afternoon, he exhorted parish priests, educators, and laity to be close "to so many youths who never enter the Church, and who congregate in streets and squares, exposed to risks and dangers."
    Many who were listening to the Pope were Italians, who over the past two weeks were shaken by the news of a group of street kids who sexually abused an 8-year old girl and, after asphyxiating her, burnt her body. Another group of street kids killed an African prostitute for fun, and earlier this year some teenage girls killed a nun as a "game".
    "Undoubtedly, the world of youth has problems, but it also hides immense potential to do good," the Pope said. Therefore, pastoral programs for the evangelisation of new generations must be urgently undertaking."
    Zenit (available soon)
31 Aug 00

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