Welkomstwoord van de Paus
op donderdagmiddag 25 juli op de
Exhibtion Place bij de eerste ontmoeting
van de Paus met de jongeren
Pope John Paul II's Opening Greeting at the Papal Welcoming Ceremony
Dear Young Friends!
1. You have come to Toronto from every continent to celebrate World Youth Day. My joyful and heartfelt greetings go to you! I have been eagerly looking forward to this meeting, especially when day after day from all parts of the world I received in the Vatican good news about all the initiatives that have marked your journey here. And often, even without having met you, I commended you one by one in my prayers to the Lord. He has always known you, and he loves each one of you personally. With fraternal affection I greet the Cardinals and Bishops who are here with you; in particular Bishop Jacques Berthelet, President of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Canada, Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic, Archbishop of this city, and Cardinal James Francis Stafford, President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity. To all of you I say: may your contacts with your Pastors help you to discover and appreciate more and more the beauty of the Church, experienced as missionary communion.
2. Listening to the long list of countries from which you come, we have practically made a trip round the world. Behind each of you I have glimpsed the faces of all your fellow young people whom I have met in the course of my apostolic travels, and whom in a way you represent here. I have imagined you on a journey, walk-ing in the shadow of the Jubilee Cross, on this great youth pilgrimage which, moving from continent to conti-nent, is eager to hold the whole world in a close embrace of faith and hope. Today this pilgrimage makes a stop here, on the shores of Lake Ontario. We are reminded of another lake, the Lake of Tiberias, on the shores of which the Lord Jesus made a fascinating proposal to the first disciples, some of whom were probably young like you (cf. Jn 1:35-42). The Pope, who loves you dearly, has come from afar to listen again with you to Jesus’ words. As was the case for the disciples on that day long ago, these words can set the hearts of young people aflame and motivate their whole lives. I invite you then to make the various activities of this World Youth Day which is just begin-ning a special time when each of you listens attentively to the Lord, with a willing and generous heart, in order to become the “salt of the earth and light of the world” (cf. Mt 5:13-16).
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