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World Youth Day 1989

This fourth World Youth Day was celebrated with Pope St John Paul II internationally in August in Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

Papa St John Paul II's Message for IV WYD / JMJ / GMG
Theme from John 14, 6 - in English, French, Italian & Spanish

“I am the Way, the Truth and the Life”

Dearest young people!
I am very pleased to be among you once again to announce the celebration of the IV World Youth Day. In my dialogue with you, in fact, this day occupies a privileged place, because it offers me the happy opportunity of speaking to young people not just from one country but from all round the world, to say to each and every one you that the Pope looks at you with so much love and so much hope, that he listens to you very attentively аnd wishes to respond to your deepest aspirations.

World Youth Day 1989 will have at its centre Jesus Christ, who is our way, truth and life (cfr. Jn 14:6). It therefore must become for all of you the day of a new, a more mature and a more profound discovery Christ in your lives.

To be young constitutes already in itself a unique wealth, belonging to every boy and every girl (cf Apostolic Letter to the Youth of the World, 3). This wealth consists, among other things, in the fact that yours is an age of many important discoveries. Each one of you discovers him or her self, his own personality, the sense of his own existence, the reality of good and evil. You also discover the whole world around you - the world of men and the world of nature. Now, among these numerous discoveries there must not be one lacking, which is of fundamental importance for every human being: the personal discovery of Jesus Christ. To discover Christ always anew and always better is the most wonderful adventure of our life. That is why, at the next Youth Day, I desire to put to each one of you some very important questions and to indicate to you the answers.

- Have you already discovered Christ, who is the way?

Yes, Jesus is for us a way that leads to the Father - the only way. Whoever wants to reach salvation must set out along this way. You young people very often find yourselves at a junction, not knowing which road to choose, where to go; there are so many wrong roads, so many easy proposals, so many ambiguities. In such moments do not forget that Christ, with his Gospel, with his example, with his commandments, is always and only the safest way, the way which ends in a full and lasting happiness.

- Have you already discovered Christ, who is the truth?

Truth is the deepest exigency of the human spirit. Above all young people are hungry for the truth about God and man, about life and the world. In my first encyclical Redemptor Hominis I wrote: "The man who wishes to understand himself to his very end - not only according to immediate, partial, often superficial and even illusory criteria and measures of his own being - must, with his unrest and uncertainty and even with his weakness and sinfulness, with his life and death, draw near to Christ" (Redemptor Hominis, 10). Christ is the word of truth, pronounced by God himself, as a response to all the questionings of the human heart. He is the One who fully reveals to us the mystery of man and of the world.

- Have you already discovered Christ, who is the life?

Each one of you desires so much to live life to its fullest. You live animated with great hopes, with so many beautiful projects for the future. Do not forget, however, that the true fulness of life is to be found only in Christ, who died and rose again for us. Only Christ is capable of filling to its very depths the space of the human heart. He alone gives the strength and the joy of living, despite any limit or external impediment.

Yes, discovering Christ is the most beautiful adventure of your life. But it is not enough to discover Him just once. Every discovery which one makes of Him becomes an invitation to seek Him always more, to come to know Him still better through prayer, participation in the sacraments, meditation on his Word, catechesis, listening to the teachings of the Church. This is our most important task, as St Paul had well understood when he wrote: "For me, indeed, to live is Christ" (Phil 1:21).

2. From the new discovery of Christ - when it is authentic - is always born, as a direct consequence, the desire to bring Him to others, that is an apostolic commitment. This is exactly the second guideline for the next Youth Day.

To the whole Church is addressed Christ's соmmаnd: "Gо оut tо the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature" (Mk 16:15). The whole Church, thus, is missionary and evangelizing, living in a constant state of mission (cf Ad Gentes, 2). To be Christians means to be missionaries-apostles (cf Apostolicam Actuositatem, 2). It is not enough to discover Christ - we need to bring Him to others!

The world of today is one great mission land, even in countries of ancient Christian tradition. Everywhere today neopaganism and the process of secularization constitute a great challenge to the Gospel message. But, at the same time, new occasions to announce the Gospel are also opening up to us; we see, for example, a growing nostalgia for the sacred, for authentic values, for prayer. Therefore, today's world needs many apostles - above all young and courageous apostles. You young people have in a particular way the task of witnessing to the faith today and the commitment to bring the Gospel of Christ - the way, the truth and the life - into the third Christian millennium, to build a new civilization which is a civilization of love, of justice and of peace.

Each new generation needs new apostles. And here lies a special mission for you. You young people are the first apostles and evangelizers of the world of youth, tormented today by so many challenges and threats (cf Apostolicam Actuositatem, 12). Principally you can be these, and no one can substitute you in the environment of your study, work and free time. There are so many of your peers who do not know Christ, or do not know Him well enough. So you cannot remain silent and indifferent! You must have the courage to speak of Christ, to bear witness to your faith through your style of life inspired by the Gospel. St Paul wrote: "Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel!" (1Cor 9:16). Indeed, the evangelical harvest is great and it takes so many workers. Christ trusts in you and counts on your collaboration. At the next Youth Day, I invite you then to renew уоur apostolic commitment. Christ needs you! Respond to his call with courage and with the momentum of your age.

3. The famous Sanctuary at Santiago de Compostela, in Spain, will constitute a very important reference point for the celebration of this day in 1989. As I have already announced to you, after the ordinary celebration of your feast - Palm Sunday - in the particular Churches, I give you an appointment at the Sanctuary, where I will go, a pilgrim like yourselves, on the 19th and 20th August 1989; I am sure you will not miss my invitation, as you did not miss the unforgettable meeting in Buenos Aires, in 1987.

The appointment at Santiago will in any case see the participation of the whole universal Church, it will be a moment of spiritual communion also with those among you who will not be able to be physically present. At Santiago the young people will represent, in fact, the particular Churches of the whole world; and the "Camino of Santiago" and the evangelical thrust will be the heritage of you all.

Santiago de Compostela is a place that has рlауеd a role of great importance in the history of Christianity and, thus, already in itself transmits to everyone a very eloquent spiritual message. This place has throughout the centuries been a "point of attraction and convergence for Europe and for the whole of Christianity .. The whole of Europe has found itself around the 'memory' of James in those same centuries, in which it was built as a homogeneous and spiritually united continent" (cf "European Act" at Santiago de Compostela, 9 November 1982).

At the tomb of St James we want to learn that our faith is historically founded, and thus it is not something vague and passing: in the world of today, marked by a serious relativism and by a great confusion of values, we must always remember that, as Christians, we are really built up on the stable foundations of the Apostles, having Christ himself as the cornerstone (сf Eph 2:20).

At the tomb of the Apostle, we also want to receive anew the mandate of Christ: "You shall be my witnesses... to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8). St James, who was the first to seal his witness of faith with his own blood, is for us all an example and an excellent teacher.

Santiago de Compostela is not only a Sanctuary, but is also a path, that is a dense network of pilgrimage routes. The "Camino of Santiago" was for centuries a pathway of conversion and of extraordinary witness to faith. Along this pathway arose the visible monuments of the pilgrims' faith: churches аnd numerous hospices.

Pilgrimage has a very deep spiritual significance and can constitute already in itself an important catechesis. In fact - as the Second Vatican Council reminded us - the Church is a People of God on the pathway, "in search of the future and permanent city" (cf Lumen Gentium, 9). Today in the world there is a revival of the practice of pilgrimage, above all among young people. You are among those most sensitive, today, to live pilgrimage as a "pathway" of interior renewal, of a deepening of faith, of a strengthening of the sense of communion and of solidarity with your brothers and sisters, and as a means of discovering personal vocatiosn. I am sure that, thanks to your youthful enthusiasm, the "Camino of Santiago" will this year receive a new and rich development.

4. The programme of this day is very demanding. To gather its fruits, a specific spiritual preparation is thus needed under the guidance of your pastors in your dioceses, parishes, associations and movements, both for Palm Sunday and for the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in August 1989. At the beginning of this preparatory phase, I turn to each and every one of you with the words of the Apostle Paul: "Walk in love...; walk as children of the light" (Eph 5:2, 8). Enter into this period of preparation with this state of mind.

Walk on your path, therefore, I say to all of you, young pilgrims of the "Camino of Santiago". Try to find, during the days of pilgrimage, the spirit of the pilgrims of old, courageous witnesses of the Christian Faith. On this pathway learn to discover Jesus who is our way, truth and life.

I desire, finally, to address a special word of encouragement to the young реорlе of Spain. This time it will be for you to offer hospitality to your brothers and sisters from all over the world. I hope for you that this meeting at Santiago may leave dеер traces in your life and be for all of you a powerful yeast of spiritual rebirth.

Dearest young men, dearest young women, I conclude this message with an embrace of peace which I desire to send to all of you, wherever you may be. I entrust the pathway of preparation and celebration of the World Youth Day 1989 to the special protection of Mary, Queen of Apostles, and of St James, venerated throughout the centuries at the ancient Sanctuary of Compostela. May my apostolic blessing accompany you all, as a sign of encouragement and good wishes - along your route.

From the Vatican, 27 November 1988