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Pope Benedict On the World Youth Day Cross

"A Journey of Conversion in Jesus' Steps"

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 10, 2006 (Zenit) - Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave before reciting the midday Angelus. The Pope gave his address after celebrating Palm Sunday Mass in St. Peter's Square. Also observed on this day was the diocesan-level World Youth Day.

* * *

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

In a few moments a delegation of German youth will hand over the World Youth Day Cross to their Australian contemporaries. It is the cross that our beloved John Paul II entrusted to young people in 1984, so that they would take it to the world as a sign of Christ's love of humanity.

I greet Cardinal Joachim Meisner, archbishop of Cologne, and Cardinal George Pell, archbishop of Sydney, who wished to participate in this very significant moment.

The handover of the cross, after each of the world meetings, has become a "tradition," in the proper sense of a "traditio": a highly symbolic handover, which must be lived with great faith, committing oneself to a journey of conversion in Jesus' steps.

We are taught this faith by Mary Most Holy, who was the first to believe and to bear her own cross together with the Son, experiencing with him afterwards the joy of the resurrection. This is why the WYD Cross is accompanied by the icon of the Virgin, which reproduces that of Mary "Salvation of the Roman People" ["Salus Populi Romani"], venerated in the Basilica of St. Mary Major, the oldest basilica in the West dedicated to the Virgin.

After visiting several countries in Africa, to manifest the closeness of Christ and of his Mother to the peoples of that continent affected by so many sufferings, the cross and the Marian icon will be received next February in different regions of Oceania, and eventually travel to dioceses of Australia, until it reaches Sydney in July 2008. It is a spiritual pilgrimage that involves the whole Christian community, particularly young people.

[The Holy Father then greeted pilgrims in seven languages. In English, he said:]

I greet all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors here this Palm Sunday, when we acclaim Jesus, model of humility, our Messiah and King. In a special way, I greet Cardinal George Pell, archbishop of Sydney, and the young Australians with him.

May they be assured of the support and spiritual accompaniment of all of us, as they prepare to host World Youth Day 2008. Upon each of you present and your families, I invoke God's blessings of strength and wisdom.

[After the handover of the cross and icon, the Pope added:]

Brothers and Sisters:

In this setting of olives, offered by the region of Puglia, we pray to the Lord with faith that this cross and icon be instruments of peace and reconciliation between people and nations, and invoke the intercession of the Virgin Mary on the new pilgrimage, which begins today, so that it will be fruitful.

© Copyright 2006 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana

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Keywords

Pope, Benedict, Angelus, World, Youth, Cross, Jesus

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