SAN GIOVANNI ROTONDO, Italy, JUNE 21, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is assuring youth, especially the unemployed, that the Church will not abandon them. He is asking them in turn to not abandon the Church.
The Pope said this today in a meeting with priests, religious and youth at the Church of San Pio de Pietrelcina in San Giovanni Rotondo, where he is visiting.
The Pontiff is spending the day in the city where St. Pio of Pietrelcina, popularly known as Padre Pio, is buried.
The Holy Father acknowledged the large numbers and enthusiasm of the young people.
He affirmed, "I have present in mind the problems facing you, dear young men and women, and which threaten to stifle the enthusiasms typical of your youth."
Benedict XVI stated, "Among these, in particular, I mention the phenomenon of unemployment," which affects so many young men and women.
He urged them, "Do not lose heart!"
The Pope added: "The Church does not abandon you. Do not abandon the Church!"
He continued: "Your input is necessary in order to build living Christian communities, and societies that are more just and open to hope.
"And if you want to have great hearts, seek the school of Jesus. Just the other day we contemplated his heart, great and full of love for humanity.
"He will never abandon or betray your trust, he will never lead down mistaken paths."
The Pontiff encouraged youth to follow Padre Pio's exampled, to "be faithful friends of the Lord Jesus, cultivating a daily relationship through prayer and through listening to his word, the diligent practice of the sacraments and the cordial membership in his family, which is the Church."
He added, "This must be the basis of the program of life of each of you, dear young people."
After the meeting, the Holy Father departed the city to return to Rome.