August 16-17, 2000
volume 11, no. 142
The Holy Father's Sunday Angelus Address in THE VICAR OF CHRIST SPEAKS for August 16-17, 2000
1. Yesterday the Exposition of the Holy Shroud opened in Turin, which will continue until October 22. Close in time to the preceding showing, this new important spiritual initiative underlines the intimate relation that links the message of the Holy Shroud to the Jubilee Year. My heartfelt thanks to Archbishop Severino Poletto of Turin, Custodian of the Shroud, and to his collaborators for offering believers from different places the possibility to venerate this unique testimony of Christ.
Every time people have the possibility to contemplate it, they are profoundly affected. This also happened to me. In fact, I remember my visits with intense emotion: the first, just a few weeks after my election to the See of Peter, the second during my visit to Turin in 1980, the third during the May 1998 pilgrimage, after the terrible fire that seriously risked damaging it. Each time was a profound experience of grace! Indeed, in the Man of the Shroud, the infinite love of God speaks to the heart of every person.
2. Very many youths were in Turin for the opening of the Exposition of the Shroud. This is also a providential coincidence. In fact, the opening was virtually regarded as the introduction to the World Youth Day, now imminent. On the evening of August 15, I will have the joy of receiving the participants of this extraordinary world meeting in Rome. Over the following days, they will have times of catechesis, prayer, and celebration, before the final gathering at Tor Vergata, where I hope to be present both for the great vigil on Saturday evening, as well as the solemn Eucharistic celebration on Sunday morning.
The pilgrimage of the world's youth left from St. Peter's Square 15 years ago now, under the guidance of the same cross that has gone around the world. Now that cross has returned to Rome, carried by a group of youths from the Mantova diocese, who made the journey on foot from Castiglione delle Stiviere, St. Louis Gonzaga's homeland. I greet them especially as well as all young pilgrims who are guests in Italian dioceses, where they are sharing the joy of the same faith and are preparing to come to Rome. But in my thoughts I embrace all those youths who over the next few days will be spiritually united to us, and even those who feel themselves distant. To all I say: God is close to you and loves you. Welcome him!
3. I ask all to pray so that all who come to Rome for World Youth Day may encounter Christ and be strengthened by him in the faith and will to follow him coherently. We ask this through the intercession of Mary, Mother of Christ and of the Church. (ZENIT Translation) ZE00081320
August 16-17, 2000
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