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WYD Toronto 2002 with JPII & Ugo      

Pope John Paul II: "Dear Young People, the time has come for us to say our goodbye. It is time for us to return to our daily paths and like salt which adds taste, to bring the flavour of this day to our families & friends, to our work, our studies and our relatives. The time has come for us to make today's message a part of our every day life. In your backpacks each of you was given a wooden cross. Now is the time to put on that cross. Look to it and you will be the light of the world. Learn from that cross the heart of the priestly life and you will be the salt of the earth. As you journey throughout life towards the kingdom, my apostolic blessing accompanies you always."

Ugo, who's from Nigeria: "The World Youth Day in Toronto prepared my faith to know, love and cherish God, and just not to be afraid. As our late Pope, Blessed John Paul II said: 'Do not be afraid to say yes to Jesus, do not be afraid to love Jesus, do not be afraid to serve Jesus, do not be afraid to visit Jesus, do not be afraid to open your door to Jesus. It's yes, yes, yes all the way because Jesus is meek and humble of heart. That's my experience of World Youth Day - it was beautiful."

Pope John Paul II: "Even a tiny flame lifts the heavy lid of night. How much more light will you make, all together, if you bond as one in the communion of the Church! If you love Jesus, love the Church! Do not be discouraged by the sins and failings of some of her members. The harm done by some priests and religious to the young and vulnerable fills us all with a deep sense of sadness and shame. But think of the vast majority of dedicated and generous priests and religious whose only wish is to serve and do good! There are many priests, seminarians and consecrated persons here today; be close to them and support them! And if, in the depths of your hearts, you feel the same call to the priesthood or consecrated life, do not be afraid to follow Christ on the royal road of the Cross! At difficult moments in the Church's life, the pursuit of holiness becomes even more urgent. And holiness is not a question of age; it is a matter of living in the Holy Spirit, just as Kateri Tekakwitha did here in America and so many other young people have done.

You are young, and the Pope is old, 82 or 83 years of life is not the same as 22 or 23. But the Pope still fully identifies with your hopes and aspirations. Although I have lived through much darkness, under harsh totalitarian regimes, I have seen enough evidence to be unshakably convinced that no difficulty, no fear is so great that it can completely suffocate the hope that springs eternal in the hearts of the young. You are our hope, the young are our hope.

Do not let that hope die! Stake your lives on it! We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures; we are the sum of the Father's love for us and our real capacity to become the image of his Son.

I finish with a prayer.

O Lord Jesus Christ,
keep these young people in your love.
Let them hear your voice
and believe what you say,
for you alone have the words of life.
Teach them how to profess their faith,
bestow their love,
and impart their hope to others.
Make them convincing witnesses to your Gospel
in a world so much in need of your saving grace.
Make them the new people of the Beatitudes,
that they may be the salt of the earth and the light of the world
at the beginning of the Third Christian Millennium!
Mary, Mother of the Church, protect and guide
these young men and women of the twenty-first century.
Keep us all close to your maternal heart. Amen."