09/10/2008, 00.00
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Pope: SMS to young people of Sydney, who respond

50 days after World Youth Day, Benedict XVI recalls the event and asks for prayers for his trip to France. The young people pledge to do so, but also share memories and a few personal requests.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The pope has remembered World Youth Day in Sydney, and has asked for prayers for his upcoming trip to France. And the young people are responding, promising prayers and sending wishes that he "renew the spirit" of their French peers in the face of the challenges of today's world, but also asking for prayers for personal matters, or political ones, like the American elections.

This morning, Benedict XVI made use of one of the "younger" means of technology, using XT3, a Catholic social networking site, to send an SMS to those who participated in World Youth Day, held in Sydney last July. The website was created following the event, in order to continue the experience, and the young people are responding to the pope's message. "Dear Friends", the pope wrote, "Fifty days ago we were together for the celebration of Mass. Today I greet you on the birthday of Mary, Mother of the Church. Empowered by the Spirit and courageous like Mary your pilgrimage of faith fills the Church with life! Soon I am to visit France. I ask you all to join me in praying for the young people of France. May we all be rejuvenated in hope!"

From the Philippines, Geeta thanks him for "continuing this voyage together with us", and another young person, John, promises "daily prayers for you and for your intentions"; a Chinese young woman, Felicity, assures him that she will pray for the French young people; Kevin asks him to pray especially "for the young people who find themselves facing so many challenges posed by today's atheistic world"; Molly says "May the Holy Spirit travel with you to France and touch the hearts of the French young people"; "I hope", Angela writes from Australia, "that your trip may spiritually renew the French, who need spiritual help, as we Australians also do".

There are many memories of World Youth Day in Sydney: "I feel that it will have a special effect on the rest of my life. It will be like the light of a candle illuminating the evening vigil", Katarzyna writes from Poland. There are also a few requests, like the one from Suzanne, in Canada, asking for prayer "that my husband Simon may return to the Church", and also that in the elections in her country and in the United States "many pro-life representatives may be elected".

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