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The Cross, a gift from John Paul II to the world’s youth

2009-04-08

It’s the World Youth Day cross and it’s travelled with the popes on their meetings with young people around the world since John Paul II handed it to them in 1984.

John Paul II
“My dear young people, at the conclusion of the Holy Year I entrust to you the sign of this jubilee year: the Cross of Christ! Carry it throughout the world as a symbol of Christ’s love, for humanity, and announce to everyone that only in the death and resurrection of Christ can we find salvation and redemption”. 

Leen den Blauwen
San Lorenzo Center

It symbolizes this pilgrimage that continuously goes on, as preparations to world youth days work or after world youth day work and I think is like this unity between young Catholics themselves. A unity with the Holy Father, with the Church in Rome but throughout the world.
 
The cross is kept in the San Lorenzo Church in Rome. Those who know its history use it as a means to help others approach God, especially young people who don’t know its meaning.

Leen den Blauwen
San Lorenzo Center

Young people that don’t really know the cross or the world youth days and so on…are a little bit more afraid of it because the cross still symbolizes death and so we need to explained them what this means: it means the redemption, it means our salvation, it means the resurrection and that’s something that is amazing in the explanation that we can do talk to them and tell them about the resurrection of Christ is not only a symbol of death but a sample of life, it’s a tree of life….

As requested by John Paul II, the Church of San Lorenzo, just a few meters from the Vatican, has  welcomed young pilgrims who visit Rome since 1983. Among its visitors is Pope Benedict XVI, who celebrated Mass there on its 25th anniversary. The church shelters another gift of John Paul II, the icon of Our Lady Salus Populi Romani, the Salvation of the People of Rome. It’s the image of the Virgin that travels with the cross…so that young people also feel the maternal presence of Mary. DG