VATICAN CITY, APR 22, 2007 (VIS) - Immediately on arriving in Pavia yesterday evening, the Holy Father travelled by car to the city cathedral where he appeared at the balcony to greet young people gathered in the square below.
The Pope called on them not to be afraid to commit their lives to Christ Who, he said, "never disappoints our expectations because He knows what is in our hearts ... The Church - which needs your commitment to carry the evangelical message, especially to your peers - supports you on the road of knowledge of the faith and of love for God and for our fellow man. ... Society ... awaits your contribution in order to create a less selfish and more cohesive form of shared coexistence, one truly animated by the great ideals of justice, freedom and peace."
At 9 a.m. today, Sunday, Benedict XVI visited the "San Matteo" hospital which treats sick people from Pavia and all Italy. Having greeted the president and a representative of the patients, the Pope expressed his thanks to the doctors, nurses and all the hospital staff.
Here, said the Holy Father, "truly inspiring results are achieved. It is my heartfelt hope that vital scientific and technological progress will always be accompanied by a concern to promote, alongside the good of sick people, such fundamental values as respect for and defense of life at every stage, upon which the authentically human quality of coexistence depend."
Benedict XVI highlighted the fact that "in each person suffering from illness it is He Himself Who awaits our love. Of course, suffering is abhorrent to the human heart, yet it remains true that when accepted with love and illuminated with faith, it becomes a precious opportunity that unites us mysteriously to Christ the Redeemer, the Man of suffering Who on the Cross took upon Himself the pain and death of man. With the sacrifice of His life He redeemed human suffering and made it the fundamental means of salvation.
"Dear sick people," he concluded, "entrust to the Lord the discomfort and pain you have to face, and in His plan you will become means of purification and redemption for the world entire."
PV-ITALY/YOUNG PEOPLE:SICK/PAVIAVIS 070423 (380)