Stay innocent, Pope tells youth

Port Lincoln's Adam Crouch was among the readers at Pope Benedict's Passion Sunday Mass during which the pontiff urged young people to refuse violence, bribes and to live with "pure hearts" in a service which also marked World Youth Day.

AsiaNews reports that Pope Benedict also asked all young people to "search for the Face of God" and to follow Christ with "innocent hands and pure hearts".

The pope also appealed to the world which has "closed" its doors to God to listen to the crucified Christ's message that invites each person to "look to me, to the God who made himself flesh to suffer for you and with you - see that I suffer for your love and open yourself to me and God the Father".

The Palm Sunday rite, which opens Holy Week and the memory of our Lord's passion, death and resurrection, began from the giant obelisk of St Peter's square, with the blessing of the palm and olive branches, followed by a procession to the altar, in remembrance of Christ's solemn entry into the city of Jerusalem.

An estimated 40 thousand people took part in the ceremony, for the most part young people from the Rome diocese, gathered to mark the XXII World Youth Day on the theme: "Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another" (Jn 13,34).

After a long reading of Christ's passion according to the Gospel of St Luke, which was dramatised and put to music, Benedict XVI held his homily showing how the rites of the ceremony are linked to the lives of the faithful and the entire world.

Young Australian Adam Crouch of Port Lincoln, who was in Rome for the 9th International Youth Forum, was also given the honour of delivering a reading during the pope's mass, the Australian Catholic bishops said in a statement.

Mr Crouch is one of two young Australians selected to represent the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference at the Youth Forum in Rome.

Pope won't visit Melbourne

The pope will not visit Melbourne next year when he visits Australia for World Youth Day celebrations in July, the Herald-Sun says, citing a Victorian Government spokesperson who said that "traditionally the Pope has visited only the host city as part of World Youth Day.

"We understand the itinerary is still being finalised, but a visit to Melbourne appears unlikely."

Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart had previously said at the time that securing a visit by the Pope to Australia's biggest archdiocese would be a big boost for the church, though "I do not expect that will happen".

Confess more, Hickey suggests

Meanwhile, Perth Archbishop Barry Hickey said many people needed to face up to their behaviour and to change their way of life in the week leading up to Easter, News.com.au reports.

"I think people generally have gone into habits of wrongdoing ... maybe going to brothels, extramarital affairs or exploiting people for profit," Archbishop Hickey said.

"Perhaps it's telling lies, talking about people behind their back - ruining their character, passing on gossip, cheating a bit in business or in money matters.

"(They) take it as normal. I think they should stop and think.

"Even if they're not Catholic and haven't got a system of formalised confession, they can always, in their own heart, talk to God, say they're sorry and make a real change in their life."

Confession had slowed to a trickle, he said while backing recent calls by the Pope for bishops to encourage "frequent confession among the faithful".


SOURCE
Port Lincoln youth honoured to deliver reading at Papal Palm Sunday Mass (ACBC, Media Release, 1/4/07)
Pope: Young people, search for the face of God; follow Christ with innocent hands and pure hearts (AsiaNews, 1/4/07)
Confess it, you're sinning more (News.com.au, 1/4/07)
Pope gives us a miss (Sunday Herald Sun, 1/4/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
World Youth Day
Archbishop Barry Hickey (Perth Archdiocese)
Archbishop Denis Hart (Melbourne Archdiocese)

MORE STORIES
Pope Celebrates Palm Sunday Mass (US ABC News, 1/4/07)
Palm fronds and incense as a 'very special week' begins (The Age, 2/4/07)


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