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Pope arrives in Toronto, praises intelligence, hearts of young people

Arriving in Toronto for World Youth Day celebrations, Pope John Paul II said the mega-gathering would help young people find spiritual direction in a world full of social and ethical tensions.

At a brief welcoming ceremony on Tuesday at Toronto's Lester B. Pearson International Airport, the pope praised the "gifts of intelligence and heart" that make young people the future of humanity.

But he warned that they also were affected by widespread conflict and injustice in the modern world.

"Too many lives begin and end without joy, without hope. That is one of the principal reasons for World Youth Day. Young people are coming together to commit themselves, in the strength of their faith in Jesus Christ, to the great cause of people and human solidarity," he said.

The pope, seated on a platform next to Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien, pronounced his short talk in a relatively strong voice. He looked alert after a nine-hour flight from Rome.

Welcoming the pontiff, Chretien said World Youth Day offered a "challenge to young people to fully live their faith, to fully engage in their societies and to believe they can make a difference by demonstrating their commitment in daily life."

The pope's Canadian hosts had planned to lower him from his plane to the tarmac, but Pope John Paul decided instead to walk down the plane's stairs, moving very slowly and held tightly by an aide. Then he was pushed on a wheeled platform into a hangar decorated with Canadian and Vatican flags.

The pope thanked Canadians for hosting this year's youth encounter, and he reminded them that their country was built on religious values that are "essential to good living and to human happiness."

Alleged sex-abuse victims protest at World Youth Day mass in Montreal (
Pope Tours Canadian Island (AP)
Pope to rest on small Canadian island ahead of youth celebrations (AP)
Resolute Pope, in Canada, Addresses Young People (New York Times)
Pope arrives in Toronto, praises intelligence, hearts of young people (CNS)
Pre-WYD Conference Gathered Seminarians and Priests (Zenit)
Pilgrims urged to ask tough questions (Toronto Globe and Mail)
From Denver to Toronto: World Youth Day's Power (National Catholic Register)
World Youth Day Pilgrims Pray At Toronto Abortuary (
Text of Pope's speech on arrival in Toronto (Independent Catholic News)


25 Jul 2002