For almost four decades, the Holy Father has addressed the young people of the world in celebration of World Youth Day.

Pope St. John Paul II initiated the celebration, which officially began in 1986 and continued annually. However, international events (such as World Youth Day in Lisbon) now occur every four years.

On Sat. Aug. 19, 2000, Pope St. John Paul II addressed youth during the 15th World Youth Day celebration in Rome. His powerful words can still inspire us today.

Pope St. John Paul II's powerful address to young people in Rome:  

"Dear friends, at the dawn of the Third Millennium, I see in you the 'morning watchmen' (cf. Is 21:11-12). In the course of the century now past, young people like you were summoned to huge gatherings to learn the ways of hatred; they were sent to fight against one another.
"The various godless messianic systems which tried to take the place of Christian hope have shown themselves to be truly horrendous. Today you have come together to declare that in the new century, you will not let yourselves be made into tools of violence and destruction; you will defend peace, paying the price in your person if need be. You will not resign yourselves to a world where other human beings die of hunger, remain illiterate, and have no work.
"You will defend life at every moment of its development; you will strive with all your strength to make this earth ever more livable for all people.
"Dear young people of the century now beginning, in saying 'yes' to Christ, you say “yes” to all your noblest ideals.
"I pray that he will reign in your hearts and in all of humanity in the new century and the new millennium. Have no fear of entrusting yourselves to him! He will guide you, he will grant you the strength to follow him every day and in every situation."

Saint John Paul II, please pray for all young people!

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