Two days in Loreto: The Pope and 300,000 Youth

From the Papa Ratzinger Forum:

The Agora of Italian Youth, the ‘piazza’ on the plain of Montorso between the Sanctuary of Loreto and the sea, accommodates an expected 300,000 youth today and tomorrow in an encounter with Pope Benedict XVI.

Unfortunately, the weather forecast promises rain – which means lots of mud in the open field.

But the important thing was underscored yesterday evening by Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi, Archbishop of Milan, who – because of heavy rain – said Mass for some 8,000 early arrivals at the indoor Plazzetto dello Sport of the John Paul II Youth Center adjoining the assembly field.

“I would rather speak of an Agora for adults: the true subject of this event are the older people who are absent, who should learn to overcome their evasions, their fears, sometimes even their counter-testimony, and offer themselves as models for the young.”

He pointed out that the Church in Italy has special objectives for the youth, but “we all should examine ourselves and learn to place ourselves in their shoes, to know their problems” and “to listen to them” as the Pope does, who this afternoon will answer some of their questions.

“Young people need to have before them a person who gives them security, strength and encouragement,” Tettamanzi said, “and in the Christian community, this person is the Pope.”

Benedict XVI will arrive in Loreto in the late afternoon, and from 6 p.m. will answer questions, then lead off the all-night Prayer Vigil, which will include Scripture readings and testimonials by youths and adults, including Fr. Giancarlo Bossi, the missionary who spent 39 days as a captive of Muslim rebels in southern Philippines.

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