«… Although surrounded , like everyone else, by the evils of our times, you, young people often have hearts and minds with antennas capable of detecting special wavelengths which others are not able to perceive. Your age makes you free to entertain noble aspirations such as peace, justice, freedom, and unity, to dream of achievements which would appear utopian to others, to foresee in the third millennium the dawning of a new world, a better, happier world, a world more worthy of the human person, more united.
We thank God that you’re here! But what can I tell you now? My words echo the words of Jesus which the Pope repeated to young people in 1995: “As the Father sent me, so I send you” (Jn. 20:21). It’s an invitation to you to bring the light of truth into today’s society; to meet the challenge of what the Pope called “new evangelization.”
“New evangelization!!” But why “new”? And what is the meaning of “new”? This “new” can have a number of meanings. I will tell you one.
You know that words are no longer enough today. Young people, especially, do not listen so much to teachers as to witnesses; they want facts. Well then, evangelization will be “new” if those who announce the Gospel are first of all genuine, authentic Christians, who are the first to live what the Gospel teaches, so that people can say of them what they said of the early Christians: “Look how they love one another and how they are ready to die for one another.”
Furthermore, evangelization will be “new” if they also love all other men and women, without distinction. Again, it will be “new” if these Christians will love in a concrete way by actively helping to give food, clothes, and shelter to those in need. And finally, it will be “new” – pay attention here – if they speak and announce the Gospel, but only after doing all these.
Such Christians, I assure you, fascinate the world with Jesus; they make people fall in love with him, so that the kingdom of God spreads beyond all expectations and the Church is strengthened and grows. It grows in such a way that these Christians can look far into the future, as Jesus did when he called everyone to universal brotherhood, praying to the Father: “May they all be one.” It might seem to be a wild dream, but it is possible because it is the dream of a God. And they believe in it. There are thousands, millions of young people from all nations who are walking towards this very goal.
It is to them that John Paul II said: “History is made by those who look toward the future: the others are dragged along….”
My dear young people, the Pope also addresses these words to all of you today. Don’t disappoint him, don’t disappoint us. This is my wish for you with all my heart.»
Tor Vergata (Rome), 19 August 2000, talk by Chiara Lubich at the 25th World Youth Day
John Paul II, Homily during Mass at the conclusion of the Genfest 1980, in L’Osservatore Romano May 19-20, p. 1.