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ROME LAUNCHES GREATEST YOUTH CATECHESIS EVER

Over 300 Bishops Respond to Young People's Questions

VATICAN CITY, AUGUST 16 (ZENIT.org).- Following Pope John Paul II's official opening of World Youth Day which was attended by 700,000 youth, a series of catechises began this morning and will continue until Friday. Groups of young pilgrims gathering for the catecheses are spread throughout Rome.

To accommodate the young people, more than 300 bishops from around the world are in Rome to participate in the catechesis groups that are scattered through Rome in venues that include 300 public squares, churches, and tennis courts.

The topic for the first day of reflection was: "Emmanuel: God With Us." Cardinal Camillo Ruini, Vicar of Rome, presided over the catechesis at St. John Lateran. He referred to significant passages of the Old Testament, which announced the promise of Jesus' coming, and focused on New Testament writings of John and Paul, which illustrate profoundly the fulfilment of the divine promise.
Cardinal Ruini concluded with these words: "We often ask ourselves: 'What is my destiny? What is our destiny? What awaits us?' The Lord answers this question, which is the most important question of our life, on which all other questions depend, the one that deep down concerns every woman, man, youth, and elderly person... Well, God's answer is this: 'Your destiny is eternal communion with me.' Hence, in the word 'Emmanuel,' which means 'God with us,' we find the meaning, significance, and also the greatness of the gift of being Christians. This is the reason why we must live our Christianity and witness our faith. This is the meaning of the Great Holy Year 2000, this is the meaning of World Youth Day."



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