There were 1,700 young people from forty-one nations at the Wednesday audience, but they were there representing 12,000 youths who had attended the Genfest (31 August – 2 September), an international event promoted by the Focolare Movement, entitled “Let’s bridge,” that is, “Let’s build bridges.” During the English language greetings the Pope turned to the young people of the Focolare Movement, appealing to them: “You have taken to heart Christ’s call to promote unity in human family, by courageously building bridges.” Then the Holy Father added: “Therefore, I encourage you: be strong in your Catholic faith; and let the simple joy, the pure love, and the profound peace that come from the encounter with Jesus, make you radiant witnesses of the Good News before the young people of your own lands. God bless all of you abundantly!”
The Pope had already sent them a message to them during the Genfest. Now, as he spoke to them in person, the young people returning from Budapest waved the colourful ribbons and scarfs that they had been waving during their march through the streets of Hungary with a flash mob on the Chain Bridge. At the conclusion of the audience, a small delegation of four youths – from Mexico, Iraq and Pakistan – were invited to personally greet the Pope on behalf of the 12,000 young people from the Genfest. They offered Benedict XVI the Genfest CD with songs of the young performers from around the world.
The Focolare youth are now attending a course at the Mariapolis Centre in Castelgandolfo and in Sassone, Italy, which will conclude on Sunday, 9 September. This course will examine the topic of “fraternity”, which was the theme of the Budapest event. They will also discuss how to bring forward the United World Project that was begun in Budapest. And it will create a permanent international observatory that will look into initiatives and projects that have actually been able to generate an “increase in fraternity”. The observatory will also promote the “category of fraternity” through specific cultural activities. Then they will consider the request to the UN of recognizing the international interest of World Unity Week by confirming and expanding this annual event that has been being held by the Focolare young people – and others – for fifteen years with the intention of giving a voice to “universal brotherhood”.
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Watch the video of the audience (excerpt from the live coverage at TV di Telepace).
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