August 4, 2010.
Colorful banners and flags are adorning the city of Rome. The orange represents Hungary, the yellow Austria, the blue France, and so on, all filling St. Peter's Square and part of the avenue leading up to it, Via della Conciliazione.Benedicto XVI"I want to express my joy to be here with you celebrating this general audience. This place bears witness to the presence of numerous large European Pilgrimage Altar. Dear children and youth, welcome! "
More than 53,000 young people participated in the international pilgrimage to Rome from August 3 to 4 , organized by CIM (Coetus Internationalis Ministrantium) - the worldwide organization for altar servers.
Mons. Martin Gächter
President, 'Coetus Internationalis Ministrantium'"CIM has been around for 50 years. A group of German, French and Italian priests began organizing pilgrimages to Rome 10 years and that's how the numbers have grown."
"Drinking from the true source," this is the motto of the gathering which has brought young people from some 17 countries here to the Eternal City. "I came from Transilvania and i lived this experience vey good becase i have seen so many ministrans here that they do their jobs and ihad fun all over there and to see Rome and the pope, the Holy father and here was very good.
"I come frome Germany and I want to see the Papst, and all Rome so it is very exciting to see all the ministrants from all over the world".
During their meetings, the young people have reflected on the importance of their role within the Church and how they can further improve their service. It's a process they will continue when they return to their home cities and which will remain etched in their memory for years to come. Mons. Bernhard Haslberger
Auxiliary Bishop of Munich (Germany)"I have met people from time to time who have taken part in these pilgrimages 20 or even 30 years ago and they tell me about what they experienced and the great impression it's left on them."
As the auxiliary bishop of Munich has pointed out, it's important to understand and appreciate the service provided by altar servers as persons called by God. Parishes also need to meet their needs and assure them of authentic Christian education.
The Pope marked conclusion of the meeting at the General Audience. He encouraged the participants by noting that they help priests during Mass and in this way help bring Jesus to others.