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Pope urges more than a million youths to discover power of faith


CLICK HEREIn back-to-back encounters with more than a million young people from around the world, Pope Benedict XVI urged them to discover the transforming power of the faith and join the "true revolution" of personal holiness.

At the World Youth Day vigil on Saturday, and at closing Mass yesterday, the Holy Father preached about the inspiration of the saints and the mystery of the Eucharist, encouraging the youths to change themselves if they want to change the world.

"Only from the saints, only from God does true revolution come," he told a vast candlelit crowd spread across a field outside Cologne.

Catholic News Service reports that the pope was presiding for the first time over World Youth Day, and he did so in a solemn and dignified style. At the vigil, he sat quietly as he watched slow liturgical dancing and listened to Scripture readings.

Unlike similar megameetings with Pope John Paul II, there was no papal bantering with the crowd or light-hearted silliness. At the end of the long evening, dressed in a golden cope, Pope Benedict led the crowd in adoration of the Eucharist.

In his talk, he retold the simple story of the Wise Men who found Jesus in a manger, thus discovering an unworldly kind of power.

The pope's emphasis on the saints -- old ones like St. Francis of Assisi and more recent figures of holiness like Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta -- resonated with many in his young audience.

The young people at Marienfeld had spent a week visiting German parishes, listening to catechetical talks, attending musical and theatrical performances and joining in prayers and processions through the streets of Cologne.

They all came together for the first time at the evening vigil, where the pope's appearance in his popemobile set off cheers and camera flashes.

His first act was to bless a huge bronze bell dedicated to the memory of Pope John Paul, who founded World Youth Day. As the bell tolled deeply, many in the crowd broke into chants of "Giovanni Paolo" -- John Paul's name in Italian.

The vigil was heavier on prayer and lighter on entertainment than previous such events. Spiritual dances by young women from India and Ghana alternated with brief testimonials and the singing of hymns.

At one point, an Argentine artist juggled straw hats and flaming torches to symbolize prayer as a dialogue between God and man. The pope, his eyebrows raised slightly, looked bemused.

SOURCE
Pope urges more than a million youths to discover power of faith (Catholic News Service 21/8/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
World Youth Day - Australia
World Youth Day - International
World Youth Day - Vatican

ARCHIVE
Arriving Pope calls WYD a sign of church vitality (CathNews 19/8/05)
PM's message advances WYD Australia rumours (CathNews 18/8/05)
Cardinal hails WYD opening (CathNews 17/8/05)
WYD pilgrims arriving in Cologne (CathNews 16/8/05)
Pope seeking 'new wave of faith' (CathNews 15/8/05)
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Pope says worship is ultimate in human fulfillment (CathNews 8/8/05)
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400 Melbourne youth head to Cologne to meet new Pope (CathNews 3/8/05)
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Pope's trip to World Youth Day officially announced (CathNews 22/6/05)
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22 Aug 2005