Pope Benedict XVI Sends Greetings and Blessing to Youth in DC; Looks Forward to April Visit

January 22, 2008

More than 20,000 youth attending the Archdiocese of Washington’s Youth Concert and Mass for Life got a big surprise this morning: a personal message from Pope Benedict XVI.

Just before the Mass, held in Washington, DC’s Verizon Center, Archbishop Pietro Sambi, papal nuncio to the United States, read a message sent on behalf of the Pope. The message noted the Holy Father’s gratitude for the commitment of the youth to promoting respect for human life and went on to say “as His Holiness looks forward to his visit to the United States in April, he assures the young people of his affection and his solidarity in prayer.”

The complete text is below:

“The Most Reverend Donald W. Wuerl
Archbishop of Washington

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI asks you kindly to convey his cordial greetings to the thousands of young people from throughout the United States who will gather on January 22 for the annual Youth Rally and Mass for Life held in conjunction with the National March for Life. The Holy Father sees a radiant sign of hope for the future in this yearly witness to the Gospel of Life. He is deeply grateful for the commitment of so many young Americans to promoting respect for the dignity and inalienable rights of every human being, including the smallest and most defenseless members of our human family. As His Holiness looks forward to his visit to the United States in April, he assures the young people of his affection and his solidarity in prayer. Commending all of them to the loving intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church, he willingly imparts his apostolic blessing as a pledge of joy and peace in the Lord.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State.”

Pope Benedict XVI will arrive in Washington, DC on April 15, 2008 for his first papal visit to the United States. While in Washington, he will visit the White House, celebrate Mass for more than 45,000 people at Nationals Park baseball stadium and hold meetings with the United States bishops, Catholic educators and inter-religious leaders. On April 18, he will travel to New York City to address the United Nations, visit Ground Zero, celebrate Mass at Yankees Stadium and with New York area clergy, and meet with ecumenical leaders and with youth with disabilities. He also will participate in a large youth rally. He returns to the Vatican on April 20.

While in the United States, he will celebrate his 81st birthday (April 16) and the third anniversary of his election to the papacy (April 19). Information about Pope Benedict’s trip to Washington, including his itinerary, is posted online at www.adw.org/papalvisit. Additional information is available at www.uspapalvisit.org.

Susan Gibbs
Director of Communications
[email protected]