VATICAN CITY, APR 26, 1997 (VIS) - At 8 a.m. today, the Pope transferred by helicopter from the apostolic nunciature in Prague to the stadium of Hradec Kralove, and then by popemobile to the Great Square, where he concelebrated the Eucharist in the presence of 40,000 people, for the most part young people.

At the beginning of the homily he said in Czech that "with today's celebration we thank God, on the occasion of the millennium of Saint Adalbert, for his mission and for the witness which he bore to Christ even to the point of sacrificing his life."

Affirming that "Saint Adalbert stands before you as a dauntless witness to faith," he told the young people that "he teaches you openness to others through the generous gift of yourselves. ... The vocation to love is your fundamental vocation. Jesus is calling you to walk this path: say yes to him, as Saint Adalbert did. By overcoming the stifling limits of selfishness through the power of love of Christ, you will be the builders of the new Europe and of tomorrow's world."

"Be Church, to bring to today's world the joyful news of the Gospel." And he added: "The Church is counting on your fresh energies, on the contribution of your intelligence and enthusiasm. Have confidence in the Church, just as she has confidence in you!"

John Paul II encouraged them to invoke the Holy Spirit. He recalled: "For me, it was my father who in a special way made me aware of the activity of the Holy Spirit, precisely when I was your age. If I found myself in some difficulty, he would suggest that I pray to the Holy Spirit; and this teaching of his has shown me the path which I have followed to this day."

"The Holy Spirit is given as the source of strength to conquer sin. Only God has the power to forgive sins. ... There are, as we know, so-called 'social sins', but in the end every sin depends on the responsibility of an actual person. ... In the Sacrament of Reconciliation Christ has given us a great gift. If we use it faithfully, it becomes an inexhaustible source of new life. Do not forget this!"

After the Mass, the Holy Father returned to Prague. At 5:15 p.m. he paid a courtesy visit to the president of the republic at Hradcany Castle and at 6:30 p.m. he met with the sick and with members of religious communities in St. Margaret's Basilica at the monastery of Brevnov.

"The Church," he told the sick, "is grateful to you for the patience, the Christian resignation and indeed for the generosity and dedication with which you carry, at times even heroically, the cross which Jesus has placed upon your shoulders."

The Pope encouraged them to offer their sufferings for the new evangelization, for the Church in mission lands, for those who have lost the faith, for an increase in vocations and for ecumenism.

He exhorted the religious not to be discouraged in the face of the resistance and difficulties found in consecrated life. "Live intensely the splendor of love, from which springs the beauty of total consecration to God." Using the words of the Apostolic Exhortation "Vita Consacrata" he said: "'To tend toward holiness: this is in summary the program of every consecrated life.'"

John Paul II concluded by telling them that their "total gift of self to God should radiate convictions and values capable of challenging your contemporaries and helping them to see things in a way which fully respects God's plan for mankind."

av Webmaster publisert 31.03.2006, sist endret 10.03.2011 - 02:45