Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of April 1, 2002
Pope calls youth to faith
With his knee immobile, pontiff still eager to attend World Youth Day
By JOHN THAVIS
"We will meet again at World Youth Day in Toronto."
- Pope John Paul
An informed Vatican source said doctors had to struggle to convince the pope not to celebrate the liturgy because they feared it would worsen the pain caused by arthrosis, a degenerative condition of the joint. In the end, the pope reluctantly agreed, hoping his knee would improve in time for a heavy schedule of Holy Week activities, the source said.
Unlike previous years, the pope did not participate in the annual procession through the square. Instead, he blessed the palm fronds and olive branches as people passed with them.
The pontiff listened to the chanted Gospel account of Christ's Passion, then delivered a sermon that focused on the relevance of the crucifixion to young Christians.
The Canadians present were members of a World Youth Day planning team that held talks with Vatican officials to work out final details of the main events in Toronto July 23-28.
Debra Violette, who read the Second Reading in English, manages a call centre at World Youth Day headquarters in Toronto. She told Catholic News Service that as the calls pour in "we can feel the enthusiasm building" for the celebration.
At the end of the Mass, the pope said he hoped this summer's encounter would show the Church's universal nature and help spread the Gospel.
"Continue to follow the Lord with joy and enthusiasm. He has the words of eternal life. He wants you to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth.
"We will meet again at World Youth Day in Toronto. God bless you all."
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