BY ANNA ARCO
POPE BENEDICT proclaimed a "new age" of love at the fmal Mass of World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia, on Sunday.
Speaking at the close of the World Youth Day events the Pope called on young pilgrims to be "the prophets of this new age, the messengers of his love, drawing people to the Father and building a future of hope for all humanity".
Pope Benedict, who was addressing people from . 170 countries, said the world and the Church needed renewal to counter a growing "spiritual desert" and called upon young people to open their hearts to the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
The grace of the Spirit cannot be merited or achieved, he said. but was something that had to be received as a pure gift and allowed to work from within.
He said: "God's love can only unleash its power when it is allowed to change us from within. We have to let it break through the hard crust of our indifference, our weariness, our blind conformity to the spirit of this age. Only then can we let it ignite our imagination and shape our deepest desires." During the homily he challenged young people, asking them what legacy they were leaving to the next generation and what difference they would make.
He said: "Empowered by the Spirit and drawing upon faith's ■Am rich vision, a new generation of " Christians is being called to
build a world in which God's gift of life is welcomed, respected and cherished — not rejected. feared as a threat and destroyed. A new age in which love is not greedy or self-seeking but purely faithful and genuinely free, open to others, respectful of their dignity. seeking their good. radiating joy and beauty. A new age in which hope liberates us from the shallowness, apathy and self-absorpdon which deaden our souls and poison our relationship."
major papal addresses which marked the celebrations. Pope Benedict built upon themes he had developed in the earlier speeches.
The Pope's welcoming address at Barangaroo on July 17 began with environmental issues through the prism of God's creation and man's role in it, before addressing the scars that a culture of consumerism had made in the social environment. In the second address, during the Saturday vigil with a crowd of over 200,000 at Randwick Racecourse, the Pope discussed ways in which young people could become witnesses of Christ's love.
At the end of World Youth Day Kurt Barragan, a young English seminarian
travelling with a group from Southwark diocese, said: "It's time to head home tomorrow and then the real legacy of WYD08 begins. We have been commissioned as Christ's witnesses in the power of the Holy Spirit. It's an exciting mission; please pray that we may all be faithful to it."
WYD reports: Page 4-6 Sarah Johnson: Page 10 Pilgrims' blogs: Page 11 Angelus address: Page 14 Stuart Reid: Page 16