VATICAN CITY (VIS) - On Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI appeared at the balcony overlooking the inner courtyard of the Apostolic Palace at Castelgandolfo, to pray the Angelus with the faithful and pilgrims gathered there.
The Pope spoke of his recent trip to Australia to preside at the 23rd World Youth Day where, he said, he had had the opportunity "to encounter the youthful face of the Church."
He also recalled how people - using "a beautiful expression that encapsulates the essence of these international days established by John Paul II" - had described the participants as "young pilgrims of the world."
"These meetings," the Holy Father explained, "represent stages of a great pilgrimage across the planet to show how faith in Christ makes us all children of the one Father Who is in heaven, and builders of a civilisation of love."
What characterised the meeting in Sydney, he went on, "was an awareness of the central role of the Holy Spirit, a leading player in the life of the Church and of Christians."
The Pope went on to recall how, during the days leading up to the closing Mass, bishops from all over the world had presented catecheses in the churches of Sydney, "moments of reflection and of prayer, indispensable in order to ensure the event left not only outward traces but a profound interior impression on people's consciences.
"The evening vigil in the heart of the city, under the Southern Cross," the Pope added, "was a choral invocation of the Holy Spirit," while during the Eucharistic celebration of Sunday, July20 , he had "invited everyone present to renew their baptismal promises.
"Thus," he went on, "this World Day became a new Pentecost, from which the mission of young people started out afresh, called to be apostles of their peers like so many saints and blesseds" such as "Blessed Piergiorgio Frassati whose relics, placed in Sydney cathedral, were venerated by a constant pilgrimage of young people.
All young men and woman are called to follow their example and share the personal experience of Jesus which changes the lives of His 'friends' with the power of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God's love."