08/14/2011, 00.00
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Pope asks for prayers for World Youth Day and Madrid trip

During the Angelus, in different languages Benedict XVI asks for support for his trip to Spain and for good fruits from World Youth Day. "Every day our heart needs to live the experience of conversion, passing from man closed in on himself, to man open to the action of God." For the first time, a group of pilgrims from Cuba present
Castel Gandolfo (AsiaNews) - "I ask everyone to spiritually accompany me with prayer on my trip to Madrid in a few days for World Youth Day"; this was the special request made by Benedict XVI to Italian pilgrims present today at Castel Gandolfo for the Sunday Angelus. But Benedict XVI made the same request for prayer in almost all the languages with which he usually concludes his greetings to pilgrims: in French, English, Spanish, German. Only the Polish pilgrims had a special greeting, for the feast of St. Maximilian Kolbe, whom the Church celebrates today.

The World Youth Day will be held August 16 to 21 in Madrid. The first few days will see meetings and catechesis with young people from around the world. From 18 to 21 Benedict XVI will attend, who will also meet with the leaders of the Spanish Church and civil society.

Spain, with its large Catholic tradition, is also one of the most secularized countries in Europe and marked by a radical and modernist politics. But the pope is particularly keen that young people participating in the WYD become witnesses of the faith to their friends and peers who do not believe.

Earlier, Benedict XVI commented on the Sunday Gospel (XX during Year, A), that of the Canaanite woman who persistently begs Jesus to heal her daughter (Matthew 15:21-28), until Jesus answers.

"We too - said the pope - are called to grow in faith, to reach out and to receive freely the gift of God. This is the journey that Jesus made his disciples, the Canaanite woman and men of all times and people, each of us, take. Faith opens us to know and accept the true identity of Jesus, his novelty and uniqueness, his Word, to live a personal relationship with Him, to know that faith is a gift from God, who reveals himself to us not as an abstract entity, faceless and nameless, but as a person, who wants to enter into a relationship of deep love and engage with us throughout our lives. Every day our heart needs to live the experience of conversion, passing from man closed in on himself, to man open to the action of God (cf. 1 Cor 2, 13-14) to a spiritual man, who allows himself to be challenged by the Word of God and opens his life to His Love. "

"Dear brothers and sisters - he concluded - we must nourish our faith every day, through listening to the Word of God, the celebration of the Sacraments, personal prayer and charity towards our neighbour. Let us invoke the intercession of the Virgin Mary, whom we contemplate tomorrow in her glorious assumption into heaven, body and soul, help us to proclaim and witness with our lives the joy of having met the Lord. "

Among the pilgrims, was also a group from Cuba, accompanied by Cardinal. Jaime Ortega y Alamino of Havana: the first group of Cuban pilgrims to arrive in Rome to the tombs of the apostles, to which Benedict XVI expressed his "closeness and affection."

Photo: CPP
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