50K young people at Wednesday General Audience

From CNA:

More than 50,000 altar servers on Rome pilgrimage learn communion of faith

The pilgrimage that brought altar boys and girls [sic] to Rome en masse this week concluded on a high note at Wednesday’s general audience. Bringing tens of thousands of young people together in what appeared to be a small scale World Youth Day, the event showed the true colors of Church and the communion of its youth.

The final tally of participants included well over 50,000 young people from at least 17 European countries, who took over St. Peter’s Square during the general audience with the Pope. The altar servers were seen dancing, singing and generally enjoying the culminating event of their pilgrimage to Rome, organized by the Coetus Internationalis Ministrantium (CIM).

Youth from each country represented were distinguishable by the color of their pilgrims’ scarves. By far, the dominant shade seen in the square and all over the city in the last three days was the German participants’ vanilla-colored garment, one of which CIM president Bishop Martin Gächter offered to Pope Benedict XVI during the audience.

Austrian pilgrims with their yellow scarves were the second-most visible, while the 18 Lithuanians in pink and the six Albanians wearing blue were a much rarer sight among the over 80,000 total audience attendees.

More than 25,000 people who were not directly involved in the pilgrimage were also there to be with the Pope for a little over an hour.

Flags from Europe and many other countries waved ceaselessly during the audience, which was described in the context of the greater pilgrimage by L’Osservatore Romano editor Gian Vian as an "extraordinary Catholic party."

The colorful and happy gathering resembled the World Youth Day 2010 celebration Benedict XVI hosted in the square last March that drew 70,000 young people.

Many in the media have referred to the greater meaning of the event amidst Church scandals, as proof that the Catholic Church is strong, however, Bishop Gächter, in his words to Pope Benedict at the beginning of the audience, commented on the meaning of the pilgrimage through the eyes of the youth.

He said simply, "Here in Rome, we have learned to better know our communion of faith," a reality witnessed these days on the streets of the city.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Supertradmum says:

    May God give a double portion of His Holy Spirit to these youth and all our Catholic youth, as He gave the prophet Elisha.

  2. AnAmericanMother says:

    I pray that God abundantly blesses these fine young people. How heartwarming!

  3. Rellis says:

    60 percent altar girls? Blech. I weep for the Church.

  4. bigtex says:

    “60 percent altar girls? Blech. I weep for the Church.”

    expect the demand for women priestesses to grow substantially in the coming years.

  5. GordonB says:

    Aside from the “only boys can become priests” argument regarding Altar “Girls” not being a good practice— what other reasons are there that can be used to justify not allowing girls to be altar “boys”?

  6. becket1 says:

    This guy made it short and sweet. “For the record”.


  7. becket1 says:

    Quote: “Aside from the “only boys can become priests” argument regarding Altar “Girls” not being a good practice—- what other reasons are there that can be used to justify not allowing girls to be altar “boys”?”

    Does there need to be any more?. They are also not allowed in the Eastern Churches as well. Ask the promoters of altar girls, if they can step foot on Mount Athos. That will get them going.

  8. gambletrainman says:

    I thought altar “girls” were supposed to be done away with.

  9. JonM says:

    Besides the fact that girls simply can never be ordained, there are logistical and functional reasons to end this practice.

    First, it saps vocations.

    Imagine, you are 12 and working right next to you on the altar is girl your age or even two years your elder. Girls bloom into women and, as the Lord designed, attract attention. Heroic virtue has limits.

    Second and related to the previous point, having boys and girls changing clothes around each other is an invitation for trouble! No it’s not the worst thing if Bobby and Christina kiss each other after Mass- but it certainly takes away from the task at hand (the job of serving at the altar of Sacrifice) and will practically ensure that Bobby not receive a calling to the Priesthood.

    Furthermore, it is just cruel to girls. ‘Oh come be like the boys – but by the way you still can’t do what they do when you are an adult!’ How in the world is this charitable? Clearly the vector is straight on for ‘ordination’ of women.

  10. Roland de Chanson says:

    All I can say is that when I was an altar boy, I wouldn’t have minded a pretty little girl a year or two older vesting beside me. Better than those ugly guys I served with. The Church is human. And humane.

  11. Ceile De says:

    My wife and I had the privilege of being at this audience as ‘sposi novelli’ – it was a truly wonderful day to see His Holiness and to see so many tens of thousands of young committed Catholics from across Europe there. As the Holy Father came over to wave at the ‘sposi novelli’ and everyone was shouting, I couldn’t help shouting out a thank you for Summorum Pontificum!

  12. irishgirl says:

    I saw a video of this audience-what was the Holy Father wearing over his robes?

    It was nice to see the enthusiasm of the young people-and all the flags that were being waved! Especially the German and Bavarian ones!

    I agree with JonM and becket1-no altar girls!

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