CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 20 October 2018

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See you next time in Rio de Janeiro

HONG KONG (SE): “Go and make disciples of all nations,” Pope Benedict XVI announced as the theme of the next World Youth Day to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from July 18 to 23, one year ahead of schedule in 2013, in order not to clash with the World Cup Soccer to be staged in the same city one year later.

In a talk cut short by a sudden electrical storm, which doused the loudspeaker system at the final vigil of World Youth Day on August 20 in the Cuatro Vientos Airport, Madrid, the pope commissioned the nearly two million-strong crowd of young people to be beacons of freedom, reconciliation and peace for the whole world.

As the tension around the giant airfield mounted in the sudden silence, Pope Benedict decided to continue with the vigil, even as many among the crowd began to fear a possible stampede, as the rain lashed and the wind swirled, quashing the candles clutched in the hands of pilgrims, but tempering air which had reached 40 degrees Celsius in the late afternoon.

Some were injured as tents set up as adoration centres collapsed, causing a few injuries, but, as the skies cleared and, after about 20 minutes, the speaker system crackled back to life, calm returned.

The pope continued, “Nowadays, although the dominant culture of relativism all round us has given up on the search for truth, even in the highest aspiration of the human spirit, we need to speak with courage and humility of the universal significance of Christ as the saviour of humanity and the source of hope in our lives.”

In his greeting given in various languages, Pope Benedict returned to the theme of his press conference on the plane from Rome, telling the young people to be proud of their faith. 

As the candles again glowed against the inky night sky, Pope Benedict said, “Guard the flame which God has lit in your hearts tonight. Never let it go out, renew it each day, share it with your contemporaries who live in darkness and who are seeking a light for their way.”

After a period of adoration before the blessed sacrament, displayed in a 15th century monstrance from Toledo, the pope bad the crowd good night, telling people to remember that they are stronger than the rain.

Members of the Hong Kong delegation returning from Madrid said that the loose security at the final Mass had caused some problems, as the tight supervision of the restricted areas to ticket holders that was in place at Randwick Racecourse in Sydney in 2008 for the vigil and final Mass, was lacking.

Some noted that they could not get into their allotted places, as the barricades were not substantial and people climbed over them at will. Nevertheless, one noted that these inconveniences in a strange way contributed to the solemnity of the evening and actually helped to make it a memorable spiritual experience.

 

‘Guard the flame which God has lit in your hearts tonight. Never let it go out, renew it each day, share it with your contemporaries who live in darkness and who are seeking a light for their way’

 

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