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Pope Urges Youth to Be Missionaries in the World

22/08/2005: Germany

Benedict XVI appealed to more than one million young people to become new missionaries in a world that is forgetting God. In his homily at the closing Mass of World Youth Day, the Pope said: Anyone who has discovered Christ must lead others to him. A great joy cannot be kept to oneself. It has to be passed on. The Mass, celebrated today on Marienfeld esplanade, some 27 kilometers from the center of Cologne, ended with the ceremony to Hand over the Cross to the young people present and to give them a missionary sending to all continents.
It seems as if everything would be just the same even without him, he continued, but at the same time there is a feeling of frustration, a sense of dissatisfaction with everyone and everything. People tend to exclaim: This cannot be what life is about! Indeed not. And so, together with forgetfulness of God there is a kind of new explosion of religion. The Pope warned, however, that religion could become a consumer product.
People choose what they like, and some are even able to make a profit from it, he said, but religion constructed on a do-it-yourself basis cannot ultimately help us. It may be comfortable, but at times of crisis we are left to ourselves. Help people discover the true star that points out the way to us: Jesus Christ! Let us seek to know him better and better, so as to be able to guide others to him with conviction.
Build communities based on faith! exhorted Benedict XVI. In recent decades movements and communities have come to birth in which the power of the Gospel is keenly felt. The spontaneity of new communities is important, but it is also important to preserve communion with the Pope and with the bishops. It is they who guarantee that we are not seeking private paths, but are living as Gods great family, founded by the Lord through the Twelve Apostles.

The majority of the young people present had spent a cold night in Marienfeld, after meeting with the Pope for a three-hour vigil. Their exhaustion, the cold and mist did not stop them from greeting the Pope with applause.

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