Pope calls world's youth to active evangelisation first posted 24 August 2005

 More than a million young Catholics, including nearly 3000 from England and Wales, were repeatedly invited by the Pope to become active evangelisers throughout World Youth Day in Cologne, Germany.

Addressing young people from every continent, Pope Benedict XVI, called a new generation of young Catholics to joyfully and publicly witness to their Catholic faith. During the final Mass held at the Marienfeld on the outskirts of Cologne, he 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...I know that you as young people have great aspirations, that you want to pledge yourselves to build a better world. Let others see this, let the world see it, since this is exactly the witness that the world expects from the disciples of Jesus Christ; in this way, and through your love above all, the world will be able to discover the star that we follow as believers."

This call to engage in the work of the 'new evangelisation' was repeated several times; during the Pope's greeting to the young people gathered he said: "Let yourselves be inflamed by the fire of the Spirit, so that a new Pentecost will renew your hearts. Through you, may other young people everywhere come to recognize in Christ the true answer to their deepest aspirations, and may they open their hearts to receive the Word of God Incarnate, who died and rose from the dead for the salvation of the world."

The World Youth Day event drew together young people from all over the world for two weeks of faith sharing, catechesis, public witness, fun and prayer. CASE sent two delegates to join an inter-agency team from the Bishops' Conference which was led by the Catholic Youth Services. The team's role was to help resource and support the English and Welsh groups gathered. They worked to create and provide a range of follow-up materials and ensured that the diocese were visited personally, offering information, support and supplementary materials.

CASE Team Member, Clare Ford said: "The Holy Father invited us all to be genuine, public witnesses to Jesus Christ. We have seen this made real in Cologne in 2005. Our young people have been those radiant and joy-filled evangelisers. It's been a privilege to support several dioceses and new movements as they have led catechetical sessions and outreach events."

Clare Ward, also from CASE said: "It's been a remarkable evangelisation phenomenon providing a model for mission ­ to be actively sharing Christ in everyday settings whether in family homes, on public transport, at prayer, during liturgies, while socialising, in service, through our silent gestures and spoken word."

The next World Youth Day will be held in Sydney in 2008 where it is hoped an even larger number of English and Welsh pilgrims will attend. Helen Bardy, who is National Directory of the Catholic Youth Services said: "I'm confident that this World Youth Day will have far reaching effects and will touch the lives of people who could not attend. It's a powerful thing to see young people passionately sharing their faith and the experience promises to reap great fruits at diocesan and parish level."

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