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World Youth Day Toronto 2002

XVII Journée Mondiale de la Jeunesse - in Canada
23rd - 28th July 2002 - 8th international WYD / JMJ

"You are the salt of the earth ... the light of the world"
(JMJ theme & message from Mt 5, 13,14)

This eighth international World Youth Day was Pope St John Paul II's last WYD / JMJ. It was the first leg of his 97th apostolic voyage, on which he also visited Guatemala & Mexico.

Pape St Jean Paul II"s partipation in the youth festival included:
Thursday 25th July - Papal Welcoming Ceremony to the young people at Exhibition Place on the shores of Lake Ontario - Greeting & Address
Saturday 27th July - Recital of the Angelus Domini with the Community of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Morrow Park, Toronto, and Prayer Vigil with the young people in Downsview Park, Toronto - Opening Greeting & Address
Sunday 28th July - Mass for the celebration of the 17th World Youth Day in Downsview Park, Toronto: Homily & Recital of the Angelus Domini in Downsview Park, Toronto & Greeting to the National Committee for the preparation of the 17th World Youth Day at the Motherhouse of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Morrow Park, Toronto

WYD Toronto 2002 with JPII & Ugo      

Ugo, from Nigeria: "WYD in Toronto prepared my faith to know, love & cherish God, & just not to be afraid. As JPII 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 WYD- it was beautiful."

Nathan, from Brazil, remembers his WYD with JPII at Toronto.      

Pope St John Paul II's opening greeting at the Papal Welcoming Ceremony
Exhibition Place, Toronto, Thursday 25 July 2002 - also in French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"Dear Young Friends!
1. You have come to Toronto from every continent to celebrate World Youth Day. My joyful and heartfelt greetings go to you! I have been eagerly looking forward to this meeting, especially when day after day from all parts of the world I received in the Vatican good news about all the initiatives that have marked your journey here. And often, even without having met you, I commended you one by one in my prayers to the Lord. He has always known you, and he loves each one of you personally.

With fraternal affection I greet the Cardinals and Bishops who are here with you; in particular Bishop Jacques Berthelet, President of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Canada, Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic, Archbishop of this city, and Cardinal James Francis Stafford, President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity. To all of you I say: may your contacts with your Pastors help you to discover and appreciate more and more the beauty of the Church, experienced as missionary communion.

2. Listening to the long list of countries from which you come, we have practically made a trip round the world. Behind each of you I have glimpsed the faces of all your fellow young people whom I have met in the course of my apostolic travels, and whom in a way you represent here. I have imagined you on a journey, walking in the shadow of the Jubilee Cross, on this great youth pilgrimage which, moving from continent to continent, is eager to hold the whole world in a close embrace of faith and hope.

Today this pilgrimage makes a stop here, on the shores of Lake Ontario. We are reminded of another lake, the Lake of Tiberias, on the shores of which the Lord Jesus made a fascinating proposal to the first disciples, some of whom were probably young like you (cf Jn 1, 35-42).

3. The Pope has come from Rome to listen again with you to Jesus' words, which still today, as was the case for the disciples on that day long ago, can set the hearts of young people aflame and motivate their whole lives. I invite you then to make the various activities of this World Youth Day which is just beginning a special time when each of you, beloved young people, listens attentively to the Lord, with a willing and generous heart, in order to become the "salt of the earth and light of the world" (cf Mt 5, 13-16).

Dear young people of Spain and Latin America, I greet you with affection. Do not forget the path of happiness that Jesus proclaims in the Gospel. My affectionate greeting goes to you and the Bishops accompanying you.

I greet also the Portugese-speaking young people, and I wish all of you the happiness and well-being announced in the Beatitudes!

With joy and affection I greet the Italian youth accompanied by their Bishops.
And finally, I greet my fellow countrymen who have come to Toronto from Poland."

Pope St John Paul II's to the Young People at the Evening Vigil      
Downsview Park, Toronto, Saturday 27 July 2002 - also in French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"Dear Young People,
When, back in 1985, I wanted to start the World Youth Days, I was thinking of the words of the Apostle John that we have listened to this evening: "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life... we proclaim also to you" (1 Jn 1, 1.3). And I imagined the World Youth Days as a powerful moment in which the young people of the world could meet Christ, who is eternally young, and could learn from him how to be bearers of the Gospel to other young people.

This evening, together with you, I praise God and give thanks to him for the gift bestowed on the Church through the World Youth Days. Millions of young people have taken part, and as a result have become better and more committed Christian witnesses. I am especially thankful to you, who have responded to my invitation to come here to Toronto in order to "tell the world of the happiness you have found in meeting Jesus Christ, of your desire to know him better, of how you are committed to proclaiming the Gospel of salvation to the ends of the earth!" (Message for 17th World Youth Day, 5).

2. The new millennium opened with two contrasting scenarios: one, the sight of multitudes of pilgrims coming to Rome during the Great Jubilee to pass through the Holy Door which is Christ, our Saviour and Redeemer; and the other, the terrible terrorist attack on New York, an image that is a sort of icon of a world in which hostility and hatred seem to prevail.

The question that arises is dramatic: on what foundations must we build the new historical era that is emerging from the great transformations of the twentieth century? Is it enough to rely on the technological revolution now taking place, which seems to respond only to criteria of productivity and efficiency, without reference to the individual’s spiritual dimension or to any universally shared ethical values? Is it right to be content with provisional answers to the ultimate questions, and to abandon life to the impulses of instinct, to short-lived sensations or passing fads?

The question will not go away: on what foundations, on what certainties should we build our lives and the life of the community to which we belong?

3. Dear Friends, spontaneously in your hearts, in the enthusiasm of your young years you know the answer, and you are saying it through your presence here this evening: Christ alone is the cornerstone on which it is possible solidly to build one’s existence. Only Christ – known, contemplated and loved – is the faithful friend who never lets us down, who becomes our travelling companion, and whose words warm our hearts (cf Lk 24, 13-35).

The 20th century often tried to do without that cornerstone, and attempted to build the city of man without reference to Him. It ended by actually building that city against man! Christians know that it is not possible to reject or ignore God without demeaning man.

4. L’attente que l’humanité nourrit au milieu de tant d’injustices et de souffrances est celle d’une nouvelle civilisation à l’enseigne de la liberté et de la paix. Mais, pour une telle entreprise, il faut une nouvelle génération de bâtisseurs qui, animés non par la peur ou par la violence, mais par l’urgence d’un amour authentique, sachent poser une pierre après l’autre pour édifier dans la cité des hommes la cité de Dieu.

Chers jeunes, acceptez que je vous confie mon espérance: vous devez être ces bâtisseurs. Vous êtes les hommes et les femmes de demain; dans vos cœurs et dans vos mains est contenu l’avenir. À vous, Dieu confie la tâche, difficile mais exaltante, de collaborer avec Lui pour édifier la civilisation de l’amour.

5. Dans la lettre de Jean – l’apôtre le plus jeune et peut-être pour cela le plus aimé par le Seigneur –, nous avons entendu que «Dieu est lumière et qu’il n’y a pas de ténèbres en Lui» (cf 1 Jn 1, 5). Cependant, observe saint Jean, Dieu, personne ne l’a jamais vu. C’est Jésus, le Fils unique du Père, qui nous l’a révélé (cf Jn 1, 18). Mais si Jésus a révélé Dieu, il a révélé la lumière. En effet, avec le Christ, «la vraie lumière, qui éclaire tout homme», est venue dans le monde (Jn 1, 9).

Chers jeunes, laissez-vous attirer par la lumière du Christ et répandez-la dans les milieux où vous vivez ! «La lumière du regard de Jésus – est-il écrit dans le Catéchisme de l’Église catholique – illumine les yeux de notre cœur; elle nous enseigne à tout voir dans la lumière de sa vérité et de sa compassion pour tous les hommes» (n 2715).

Dans la mesure où votre amitié avec le Christ, votre connaissance de son mystère, votre don de vous-mêmes à Lui, seront authentiques et profonds, vous serez «fils de la lumière» et vous deviendrez à votre tour «lumière du monde». Pour cela, je vous redis la parole de l’Évangile: «Que votre lumière brille devant les hommes; alors en voyant ce que vous faites de bien, ils rendront gloire à votre Père qui est aux cieux» (Mt 5, 16).

6. Ce soir, avec vous, jeunes des différents continents, le Pape affirme à nouveau la foi qui soutient la vie de l’Église: le Christ est la lumière des nations; il est mort et il est ressuscité pour redonner aux hommes, qui marchent dans l’histoire, l’espérance de l’éternité. Son Évangile n’humilie pas l’humain: toute valeur authentique, quelle que soit la culture dans laquelle elle se manifeste, est accueillie et assumée par le Christ. Conscient de cela, le chrétien ne peut pas ne pas sentir vibrer en lui la fierté et la responsabilité d’être témoin de la lumière de l’Évangile.

C’est pourquoi je vous dis à vous tous ce soir: faites resplendir la lumière du Christ dans votre vie! N’attendez pas d’être plus âgés pour vous engager dans la voie de la sainteté! La sainteté est toujours jeune, comme est éternelle la jeunesse de Dieu.

Faites connaître à tous la beauté de la rencontre avec Dieu, qui donne sens à votre existence. Dans la recherche de la justice, de la promotion de la paix, de l’engagement en vue de la fraternité et de la solidarité, ne soyez pas en reste!

Comme il est beau le chant qui résonne en ces jours:
«Lumière du monde! Sel de la terre!
Soyez pour le monde visage de l’amour!
Soyez pour la terre le reflet de sa lumière!

C’est le don le plus beau et le plus précieux que vous pourrez faire à l’Église et au monde. Vous le savez, le Pape vous accompagne de sa prière et de son affectueuse Bénédiction."

Blessed John Paul II's homily at Mass for 17th World Youth Day:

at Downsview Park on Sunday, 28th July 2002 - in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

Dear Young People of the 17th World Youth Day, Chers Frères et Soeurs,

1. On a hillside near the lake of Galilee, Jesus's disciples listened to his gentle and urgent voice; as gentle as the landscape of Galilee itself, as urgent as a call to choose between life and death, between truth and falsehood. The Lord spoke words of life that would echo for ever in the hearts of his followers.

Today he is speaking the same words to you, the young people of Toronto and Ontario, of the whole of Canada, of the United States, of the Caribbean, of Spanish-speaking America and Portuguese-speaking America, of Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania. Listen to the voice of Jesus in the depths of your hearts! His words tell you who you are as Christians. They tell you what you must do to remain in his love.

2. But Jesus offers one thing, and the "spirit of the world" offers another. In today's Reading from the Letter to the Ephesians, Saint Paul tells us that Jesus leads us from darkness into light (cf. Eph 5,8). Perhaps the great Apostle is thinking of the light that blinded him, the persecutor of Christians, on the road to Damascus. When later he recovered his sight, nothing was as before. He had been born anew and nothing would ever take his new-found joy away from him.

Dear young people, you too are called to be transformed. "Awake, O sleeper, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light" (Eph 5, 14), says Saint Paul. The "spirit of the world" offers many false illusions and parodies of happiness. There is perhaps no darkness deeper than the darkness that enters young people's souls when false prophets extinguish in them the light of faith and hope and love. The greatest deception, and the deepest source of unhappiness, is the illusion of finding life by excluding God, of finding freedom by excluding moral truths and personal responsibility.

3. The Lord is calling you to choose between these two voices competing for your souls. That decision is the substance and challenge of World Youth Day. Why have you come together from all parts of the world? To say in your hearts: "Lord, to whom shall we go?" Who has the words of eternal life? "You have the words of eternal life" (Jn 6,68). Jesus - the intimate friend of every young person - has the words of life.

The world you are inheriting is a world which desperately needs a new sense of brotherhood and human solidarity. It is a world which needs to be touched and healed by the beauty and richness of God's love. It needs witnesses to that love. The world needs salt. It needs you - to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.

4. Salt is used to preserve and keep. As apostles for the Third Millennium, your task is to preserve and keep alive the awareness of the presence of our Savior Jesus Christ, especially in the celebration of the Eucharist, the memorial of his saving death and glorious resurrection. You must keep alive the memory of the words of life which he spoke, the marvellous works of mercy and goodness which he performed. You must constantly remind the world of the "power of the Gospel to save" (Rom 1, 16)!

Salt seasons and improves the flavour of food. Following Jesus, you have to change and improve the "taste" of human history. With your faith, hope and love, with your intelligence, courage and perseverance, you have to humanize the world we live in, in the way that today's Reading from Isaiah indicates: "loose the bonds of injustice ... share your bread with the hungry ... remove the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil.... Then your light shall rise in the darkness" (Is 58,6-10). 5. 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.

6. 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.

Blessed John Paul II's message at the Angelus

"We conclude this splendid celebration of the Eucharist with the Angelus prayer to Mary, Mother of the Redeemer. To her I entrust the fruits of this World Youth Day, that in time, with her help, they may flourish. This World Youth Day must mark a reawakening of pastoral attention to the young in Canada. May the enthusiasm of this moment be the spark that is needed to launch a new era of powerful witness to the Gospel!

I wish formally to announce that the next World Youth Day will take place in 2005 in Cologne, Germany. In the great Cathedral in Cologne are honoured the relics of the Magi, the Wise Men from the East who followed the star which led them to Christ. As pilgrims, your spiritual journey to Cologne starts today. Christ awaits you there for the 20th World Youth Day!

May the Virgin Mary, our Mother on our pilgrimage of faith, be with you on the way.

Angelus Domini nuntiavit Mariae...

Je remercie vivement tous ceux et toutes celles qui ont contribué au succès de cette XVIIème Journée mondiale de la Jeunesse..

As we prepare to return home, I say, in the words of St Augustine: "We have been happy together in the light we have shared. We have really enjoyed being together. We have really rejoiced. But as we leave one another, let us not leave Him" (In Io ev tr, 35,9).

Muchas gracias a los jóvenes de lengua española. No tengáis miedo de responder con generosidad a la llamada del Señor. ¡Que vuestra fe brille ante el mundo! ¡Que vuestras acciones muestren vuestro compromiso derivado del mensaje de salvación del Evangelio!

Queridos jovens de língua portuguesa! Não acaba aqui a Jornada Mundial da Juventude; deve continuar na vossa vida de fiel entrega a Cristo: sêde sal, sêde luz no mundo que vos rodeia!

Carissimi giovani italiani: mantenete vivo il dono della fede che vi ha sorretto in questi giorni. La Chiesa ha bisogno del vostro impegno. Arrivederci a Roma!

Liebe Jugendliche deutscher Sprache! An Euch liegt es ganz besonders, im Blick auf das Treffen in Köln im Jahr 2005 den Geist des Weltjugendtags lebendig zu erhalten. Baut mit an einer Zivilisation der Liebe und der Gerechtigkeit! Seid selbst ein leuchtendes Vorbild, das viele andere zum Reich Christi hinführt, zum Reich der Wahrheit, der Gerechtigkeit und des Friedens.

Moja myśl biegnie w końcu do Polski, którą - jak Pan Bóg pozwoli - niedługo ponownie nawiedzę. Drodzy rodacy, nigdy nie traćcie z oczu waszego chrześcijańskiego dziedzictwa. Możecie w nim odnaleźć mądrość i odwagę, aby stawiać czoło wielkim wyzwaniom religijnym i etycznym naszych czasów. Wszystkich was zawierzam opiece Jasnogórskiej Pani."

- in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish


For 1st 5 mins of this next video there's nothing but joyful dancing...then you spot the 1st priest...and then lots more.. Many thanks to 'Reeemas' for this great video: "Excerpt from a video montage (that I created) depicting my WYD experience. I was part of an American/Lithuanian group. There are two parts divided by some raw footage."