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Pope's Lourdes call for youth "breath of fresh air"

At the conclusion of yesterday's solemn Mass of his weekend trip to Lourdes, Pope John Paul II called young people to become a source of hope to the world through a life of prayer and austerity.

"I greet in particular all the young people, who are so much at home in Lourdes and have placed themselves so generously at the service of their sick brothers and sisters as hospitaliers," said the Holy Father.

He said that Our Lady of Lourdes "called for penance and prayer".

"She indicated to Bernadette a spring of water and asked her to drink of it. That spring of fresh water has become one of the symbols of Lourdes: a symbol of the new life which Christ gives to all who turn to him."

A weakened Pope John Paul had delivered to a crowd of more than 250,000 pilgrims, including many sick, a powerful call to defend life from the moment of conception to its natural end.

"With special affection I greet the sick and all who have come to this holy place to seek consolation and hope. May the Blessed Virgin enable you to sense her presence and give comfort to your hearts!"

Earlier, on Saturday evening, during the prayer of the Rosary before the grotto of Lourdes, Pope John Paul called Christians to pray for more priestly and religious vocations and challenged them to change the world starting "from the inside," meaning personal conversion.

"Kneeling here, before the grotto of Massabielle, I feel deeply that I have reached the goal of my pilgrimage. This cave, where Mary appeared, is the heart of Lourdes."

The Holy Father also asked the Virgin to "teach us to build up the world beginning from within: in the depths of silence and prayer, in the joy of fraternal love, in the unique fruitfulness of the Cross."

The two-day pilgrimage to Lourdes was the 104th foreign trip of John Paul II's pontificate. He concluded his visit in the early hours of this morning Eastern Australian time, touching down at Rome's Ciampino Airport at 4:45 am.

Ailing Pope launches powerful call for life and freedom from Lourdes (Catholic News Agency 15/8/04)
In Lourdes, Pope calls Christians to pray for vocations, change world "from the inside" (Catholic News Agency 15/8/04)

Pilgrimage to Lourdes 14-15 August 2004 (Holy See website)
In Lourdes Pope calls youth to bring "fresh breath of air" to the world (Catholic News Agency 15/8/04)
Apostolic Pilgrimage to Lourdes - Text of Homily of the Holy Father John Paul II (Catholic News Agency 15/8/04)
Pope John Paul Prayer to Our Lady of Lourdes (Catholic News Agency 15/8/04)
Lourdes: an exhausted Pope, "Ferragosto" and the Olympic Games ( 15/8/04)
Pope tells women to be free defending life and that which is invisible ( 15/8/04)
Appeal for peace at the procession 'Aux Flambeaux' ( 14/8/04)
The Pope : Pray the rosary for vocations to the priesthood and religious life ( 14/8/04)
Pope: suffering is not useless. It is an offering for the world ( 14/8/04)
"Ina" Mary's love changed my life ( 14/8/04)
The Pope "marked by suffering" greets the infirm before the grotto ( 14/8/04)
Lourdes: a past rich in devotions and pilgrimages (profile) ( 14/8/04)
Pope struggles during mass (The Mercury 16/8/04)
Ailing Pope visits Lourdes as a patient (The Sunday Age 15/8/04)
Tired Pope winds up Lourdes visit with Mass (ABC 15/8/04)
Vandals daub swastika near Notre Dame (ABC 15/8/04)
A pilgrim among pilgrims (Sun-Herald 15/8/04)
Frail Pope ends Lourdes pilgrimage (Reuters 15/8/04)
Tired Pope Winds Up Lourdes Visit with Mass (Reuters 14/8/04)
Vandals daub swastika near Notre Dame (Reuters 14/8/04)
Pope says respect sick and elderly (Reuters 14/8/04)
Pope calls to keep Church in society (Reuters 14/8/04)
Frail Pope in Lourdes (Reuters 14/8/04)

16 Aug 2004