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INTERNATIONAL YOUTH FORUM RESPONDS TO BE SAINTS FOR THE NEW MILLENNIUM

300 World Representatives Respond To Call To Sanctity

ROME, AUGUST 16 (ZENIT.org).- The sessions of the International Youth Forum, organized by the Pontifical Council for the Laity, ended yesterday. The Forum was attended by 300 young people from around the world, representing their Bishops Conferences, as well as various Catholic movements and ecclesial communities.

In a final statement, which will be read in Pope John Paul II's presence, at the World Youth Day Vigil in Tor Vergata on August 19, the youth express their commitment to the Pope's call to become the saints of the new millennium and to give an effective testimony of their faith to their contemporaries. Some might say this is a nice dream, but these youth seem determined to claim their right to dream in a world asphyxiated by materialism.

Msgr. Renato Boccardo, who heads the youth section of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, explained the Forum's conclusions as follows:
"I would say that there is in them a certain nostalgia for sanctity.
In fact, this has been the theme of these days of meetings. I think the young men and women have received very well the Pope's words contained in his message for this World Day: 'Do not be afraid to be the saints of the third millennium.' They are also aware of the urgency to respond with generosity to what the Church and the world expect from them."

"It has been wonderful to hear during these days the diversity and freshness of the young people’s testimony: of those who come from the great Churches, or rather, of the oldest and most organized, and of those who belong to the Churches that are being reborn over the last years, following the persecutions and fall of walls. For example, I am thinking of Nepal, Mongolia, and Sudan, where the Church suffers persecution and difficulties of which we are all aware. During these days at the Forum, it has been like going around the world, or better still, around the world of the Church. We have been able to see how the Church is present in all the regions of the earth, and the youth are generously committed in the Church."

As regards to the Christian life of these young men and women who represented their contemporaries around the world, Msgr. Boccardo



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