YOUTH ARE ATTRACTED TO JOHN PAUL II

March 24 (EWTNews) Since 1989, over 500,000 youth have flocked to hear Pope John Paul II at various gatherings around the world. Today in Galilee, was no exception, as over 100,000 young people from throughout the Holy Land and the world gathered at the largest event ever held in Israel. It is probably the first time that about 50,000 youth from the Middle East have had the opportunity to meet together.

During today’s Mass, as with all events between the Pope and youth, there was a vocational call. This vocational call was unique because it happened in the same place where Jesus initiated the first apostles and it was here that Jesus appeared to the 500 and sent them to announce the Gospel to the whole world.

These gatherings and vocational calls have produced much fruit for the Church. Since 1989, over 600 young men have become priests, countless others have entered seminary and over 2,000 young ladies have entered religious life as sisters.

To get to today’s event with the Holy Father was not an easy task for many of the youth. Many have worked for more than a year to save money for this trip and for some, the money needed to come was equivalent to one-year’s salary.

Once here, the youth still faced obstacles. The night vigil, which was to held on Thursday before the Friday Mass with the Holy Father, had to be cancelled due to inclement weather which even brought some snow. But their spirits were not dampened by either the weather or having to wait for the Pope to arrive. At the first glimpse of the popemobile, they erupted into chants of "Viva Baba" and "John Paul II, we love you!".