Pope Benedict XVI will be distributing copies of a new Arabic translation of the Catholic Church’s youth catechism during his visit to Lebanon. The first copies of YOUCAT in Arabic are set to be distributed on 15 September at a youth meeting with Pope Benedict during the pontiff’s visit to the country.
Youth meeting coordinator Fr Toufic Bou Hadir said the 300-page book “has inspired many of the youth in the Arabic world” – even before its translation into their native tongue.
Describing the forthcoming papal meeting, he said: “We are expecting about 50,000 participants this day, coming fromLebanonand [other] Middle Eastern countries.”
Fr Hadir added: “The YOUCAT book – in its Arabic edition – will be distributed as a personal gift from the Pope to all the youth participating in the event, similar to what happened inMadrid last year.”
Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need has supported the printing costs of the catechisms in Arabic, having previously helped with the printing of 700,000 copies of YOUCAT in seven languages for the Madrid World Youth Day in August 2011.
The Arabic edition of YOUCAT was prepared by a team of translators working under the auspices of the Youth Department of the Maronite Patriarchate inLebanon. The book was also printed in Lebanon.
Father Andrzej Halemba, the Middle East projects’ coordinator of Aid to the Church in Need, which is supporting the project, welcomed the initiative. He said: “It is the first Catechism for young people in Arabic. There has never been such a thing before. It is aimed at the youth in Lebanonand the whole of the Middle East. We hope that the Catechism will contribute to strengthening young people in their faith.”
In his foreword to YOUCAT, which contains answers to 527 questions about the Catholic Faith, Pope Benedict says to young people: “This Catechism was not written to please you. It will not make life easy for you, because it demands of you a new life.”
Knowledge of the faith and communicating the faith, the Pope continues, is the responsibility of every individual. Benedict XVI encourages young people to know their faith: “You need to know what you believe.
“You need to know your faith with that same precision with which an IT specialist knows the inner workings of a computer. You need to understand it like a good musician knows the piece he is playing.
“Yes, you need to be more deeply rooted in the faith than the generation of your parents so that you can engage the challenges and temptations of this time with strength and determination.”