Twenty-five years ago Venerable John Paul II launched the annual meeting for young people and Pope Benedict XVI reflected on this milestone in his annual World Youth Day message which was released on Monday.
Apart from the international World Youth Day gatherings, most recently in Australia, and next year in Spain, Palm Sunday traditionally marks an annual World Youth Day at the diocesan level.
The theme of World Youth Day this year is from the Gospel of Mark, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" (10:17)
Here is a translation of the Holy Father's message from Zenit:
Message of the Holy Father Benedict XVI
To the Young People of the World on the Occasion of the Twenty-Fifth World Youth Day 2010
“Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" (Mark 10:17)
This year we observe the 25th anniversary of the institution of World Youth Day, desired by the Venerable John Paul II as an annual meeting of believing young people of the whole world. It was a prophetic initiative that has borne abundant fruits, enabling new generations of Christians to come together, to listen to the Word of God, to discover the beauty of the Church and to live experiences of faith that have led many to give themselves totally to Christ.
The present 25th Youth Day represents a stage toward the next World Youth meeting, which will take place in August 2011 in Madrid, where I hope a great number of you will live this event of grace.
To prepare ourselves for such a celebration, I would like to propose to you some reflections on this year's theme: "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" (Mark 10:17), treating the evangelical episode of Jesus' meeting with the rich young man, a topic already addressed in 1985 by Pope John Paul II in a most beautiful Letter, addressed for the first time to young people.
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Photos -- top: World Youth Day 2008, bottom: Dan McAloon