Extend Official Invitation to Madrid's WYD
Young people are not passive recipients of the Word of God, but protagonists in building up the Church, according to the hosts of the next World Youth Day.
The bishops of Spain said this in a statement Friday at the conclusion of their plenary assembly, in which they invited Spanish young people to participate in World Youth Day this August in Madrid.
The prelates reminded youth that for pastors, they are "hope and joy" as the "future of society and of the Church."
"As your bishops," they said, we have "confidence in you and regard you not only as recipients of the Gospel of Christ, but as protagonists of the history of the Church."
The bishops recalled Pope John Paul II, the founder of World Youth Days. "He has been called the 'Pope of young people,' because of the affection and dedication with which he distinguished you," they recalled.
But, the bishops noted, he did not win the affection of young people through false praises or by failing to demand from them. "On the contrary, he asked you for the best of yourselves, the capacity to give yourselves totally to the love of God and men," they said. "How many times he invited you to be saints!"
The prelates continued: "Thinking of you, he began the passionate adventure of World Youth Days so that, as young people, you would manifest to the world the joy of living in Christ, the youth and beauty of the Church, and the firmness of a faith that is for all a sign of the presence of the living God. Yes, friends, this is the meaning of the forthcoming World Day to which we invite you, convinced of your openness to Truth and of your capacity to create bonds of friendship with young people from all over the world."
"World Youth Day will be an authentic celebration of the faith," they affirmed. "It is a question, young friends, of making visible that 'Christ is not a good just for ourselves, but that he is the most precious good that we must share with others.'"
The prelates' invitation is to participate in World Youth Day as an expression of following Christ and being members of the Church. And to make this participation fruitful, they suggested starting now with an interior pilgrimage to Christ.
The bishops reminded the Spanish young people of their responsibility as hosts of their peers from across the globe.
"In a certain sense you will be the face of the young Church that will receive pilgrims from the whole world," they said. The pastors encouraged Spanish youngsters to volunteer and to bring their friends.
They also asked for solidarity with youth from needy countries. "Many of them, often isolated from experiences of this kind, wish to take part in the Day to live dimensions of the faith and of ecclesial life that enrich them," the prelates noted. "We also expect young people from countries where the Church is persecuted, who will strengthen us with their testimony."
Concluding with words of gratitude, the Spanish prelates reminded youth: "The Church needs you to proclaim to all the love of God. Will not our joy be greater if we all meet with the Successor of Peter when he comes to confirm us in the faith? Let us pray therefore for one another so that this World Day, as the previous ones, will root and build us in Christ and convert our faith into the solid rock on which our life is founded."