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Welcome dear boys and girls, and dear young people,

   I greet you with my whole heart and I tell you that you bring me particularly great joy today with your numerous and affectionate presence. One is always happy among the young. Now, I wish to give you, as a viaticum* for your lives, three thoughts: look for Jesus, love Jesus, and bear witness to Jesus.
    Let's discuss this first thought: Look for Jesus.
  Christian faith must not be superficial or worldly. Your personal faith must be greater, despite changing times, cultural developments, mass media's constant pressure, among many other oppressive influences, especially the ominous presence of atheism, agnosticism and anti-Christian aggression.
    Your personal faith must be sought for with a deep desire for the truth. Your personal faith must be put completely into practice in your life. You must have a clear and certain conviction of the truth of your Christian faith. You must believe that Jesus is God, that He became a man, and that He desired to create the Church. -
    When you are really convinced that Jesus is the Word Incarnate, when you believe that He is truly present in the Church, then you accept His "word" completely, because He is the Divine Word. He does not lie to you and He does not contradict Himself. He gives us the true and only meaning of life and eternity. He alone, in fact, as the Divine Word, has the words of eternal life! He alone is the Way, the Truth and the Life!
    So I repeat to you: Look for Jesus. Look for Jesus by reading holy books. Look for Jesus by taking advantage of your religion classes in school, of the catechism, and of going to your local church for the Sacraments and for community.
Personally looking for Jesus with the ea­gerness and joy of dis­covering the truth gives deep inner satis­faction and great spiri­tual strength in order to put into practice what He demands, even though it costs sacrifice. 
Next time, we will talk about the second thought: Love Jesus.

Pope Saint John Paul II November 8, 1978  

*Viaticum is the Eucharist given to a person near or in danger of death

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Dear boys and girls,


     I wish everyone well, but I give my special greetings to you youth because you have a special place in the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Who wished to remain with children and to talk to the young (read Mark 10:14; Luke 18:16). He addressed his call to the young particularly (read Matthew 19:21), and John, the youngest Apostle, was His favorite.          My last letter to you discussed three very important thoughts: Looking for Jesus, Loving Jesus, and Bearing witness to Jesus. The heart of my last letter urged you to look for Jesus, not in the world, but in the Word of God, that is, the Bible.
     In this letter, let us discuss the equally important thought of loving Jesus.
     Jesus is not an idea, a sentiment, or a memory. Jesus is a person! He is always alive and present with us. The first way that I urge you to love Jesus is in His Presence in the Eucharist. Yes, He is present in a sacrificial way in the Holy Mass, which renews the Sacrifice of the Cross. To go to Mass means to go to Calvary to meet Him, our Redeemer. He comes to us in Holy Communion and remains present in the Tabernacles of our churches, because He is our friend, He is the friend of all and He particularly wishes to be the friend and support in the journey of life of you children and young people, you who are in need of confidence and friendship.
      Jesus is also present in the Church by means of his priests. So, you can love Him in your priest.         
      Jesus is present in your family, too, in your parents and in those who love you. And so, you can also love Jesus in your family.
     Yet most especially, love Jesus in those who are suffering in any way, those who are suffering in their body, in their mind, and even suffering in their spirit. Therefore, let it be your Christian goal and commitment to love your neighbors, and to discover in them the Holy Face of Jesus Christ.
     In my next letter to you, we will talk about the third thought: Bearing witness to Jesus.   
God bless you.
Pope Saint John Paul II
November 8, 1978

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Dear boys and girls,

   Warmly I greet you and I wish to express the depth of my feelings for you. I also wish to express my hope for you—yes, my hope, because you are the promise of tomorrow. You are the hope of the Church and of the world. Whenever I think of you, I worry about your future, but I also trust who you will be when you are adults. Throughout your life, look for Jesus and love Jesus, as we have been discussing, but you must also bear witness to Jesus.

    Dear boys and girls, I tell you to bear witness to Jesus with your courageous faith and your innocence. It is useless to complain about the wickedness of our times. As Saint Paul wrote in Romans 12:21, we must “overcome evil by doing good.” The world esteems and respects the courage of ideas and the strength of virtues. Do not be afraid to refuse words, acts and attitudes which do not conform to Christian ideals. Be courageous in rejecting what destroys your innocence or wilts the freshness of your love for Christ.

    Look for Jesus, love Jesus, and bear witness to Jesus—this is your commitment; these are the instructions that I leave to you. By doing these three things, you will have real joy in your lives and you will also make the world better, which needs, above all, consistency with the message of the Gospel.

    This is what I wish for you from the bottom of my heart.
   Affectionately, I bless you, all your loved ones, and those people who are dedicated to your formation.

    Pope Saint John Paul II
    November 8, 1978

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Dear boys and girls,

   Your deep feelings about religion and morality, and your deep spiritual aspirations, give me joy and comfort. I wish to assure you that I follow your problems and your difficulties, I share your hopes, and I wish to accompany you on your spiritual journey.

   You young people are the hope of the Church and of the world. Do you feel this way, too? Do you feel truly and deeply that you are the hope and the joyful promise of tomorrow?       

   Certainly, to understand that you are young is not enough to give you the inner confidence that enables you to look to the future with calm certainty, and to see that you can change the world and build a society really worthy of man. To be young means keeping inside yourself an incessant newness of spirit, nourishing a continual quest for good, releasing an impulse to change always for the better, realizing a persevering determination of dedication.

    Who will make all this possible for us? Does man have within himself the strength to face with his own forces the snares of evil, selfishness and the disintegrating snares of (let us say it clearly) the “prince of this world,” who, first, is always active to give man a false sense of freedom, and then, through failure, to bring him to the abyss of despair?

   All of us - youth and adults - must have recourse to Christ who is eternally young, Christ who is the conqueror of every expression of death, Christ who rose again for ever, Christ who communicates in the Holy Spirit the continuous, irrepressible life of the Father. Yes, we must have recourse to Christ in order to discover and to ensure the hope of tomorrow, which you will build, but which is also potentially present today. 

                                         November 15, 1978

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Dear boys and girls,

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   Christ Jesus conquers all. He must. Whenever His grace defeats in us the forces of evil, He renews our youth, He widens the horizons of our hope, and He strengthens our confidence. Christ's victory in our hearts calls for the exercise of the virtue of fortitude, which is the third cardinal virtue.

  Saint Thomas Aquinas teaches us that this virtue - fortitude - enables us to face dangers, to bear adversity, to fight courageously, and to agere contra* for the ideals of justice, honesty, and peace. All of us feel attracted to this deeply, for our discipleship in the Lord Jesus Christ has two realities superimposed on each other, requiring us to bear on himself, which only happens in authentic love. This is what is demanded of us in order to move beyond all barriers of fear.

  You see, dear young people, to follow Christ, to build up the true man in yourselves and to strive to help others to do so, entails courageous resolutions, unshakable strength to put these resolutions into practice, and assisting others to do so, too. This will make it possible to unite your efforts, to deepen your mutual convictions, and to inspire one another with reciprocating, loving help.

  Entrust yourselves to the grace of the Lord who cries within us and for us: "Courage!"

  Victory over the world will be Christ's (read John 16:33). Take His side, and face with Him this battle of love, animated by invincible hope and courageous fortitude. You will not be alone; the Pope is with you. He loves you and blesses you.

Pope Saint John Paul II
November 15, 1978

*Agere contra is a Latin phrase that means "to act against," and it refers to acting against behaviors that are sinful, that are not life-giving, and that hold us back from the true freedom which God desires for us.

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Beloved children,

   You youth and adolescents, you who are so enthusiastic and so lively, you are a sign of joy and hope.

    You are a sign of joy, because where there are young people, adolescents and children, there is the guarantee of joy, since it is life in its most spontaneous and most exuberant bloom. You possess the joy of life abundantly and you bestow it generously on a world that is sometimes tired, discouraged, disheartened and disappointed.

    You are also a sign of hope. Adults—not only your parents, but also your teachers and anyone who helps your physical and intellectual growth and development—they see in you the capability of achieving goals that they have not been able to achieve (perhaps because of various circumstances).

    Therefore, a young person without joy and without hope is not a real young person, but someone who has dried up and aged prematurely. For this reason the Pope says to you: Bring, share, and radiate joy and hope!

Pope Saint John Paul II
November 22, 1978

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Dear young friends,

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   All that I can say to you is summed up in the words: Get to know Christ and make yourselves known to Him.
   He knows each one of you in a particular way. His knowledge of you should not be frightening. He makes no guesses about you. His knowledge is not a science that hypothesizes about you or objectifies you or strips you of dignity. You do not need to protect the secrets of your heart. On the contrary, the knowledge of Christ is full of the simple truth about humanity and, above all, it is full of love. Surrender yourself to this simple and loving knowledge of the Good Shepherd. Be certain that He knows you more than you know yourself. He knows you because He has laid down His life for you (read John 15:13).
   Allow Him to find you. Sometimes, you, a human being, a young person, you get lost in yourself, in the world about you, and in all the webs of human affairs  that wrap around you. Allow Christ to find you. Let Him know all about you. Let Him guide you. It is true that following someone also requires making demands on ourselves. That is the law of friendship. If we wish to travel together, we must pay attention to the road we are to take. If we go walking in the mountains, we must follow the signs. If we go mountain climbing, we cannot let go of the rope. We must also preserve our unity with the Divine Friend whose name is Jesus Christ. We must cooperate with Him.
   You are the future of the world, of the nation, of the Church. Tomorrow depends on you. Accept this simple truth with a sense of responsibility and ask Christ, through His Mother, that you may be able to face it.
   Be consistent in your faith. Be faithful to Mary, the Mother of Fair Love. Have trust in her, as you shape your love and form your young families.
   May Christ always be with you "the way, and the truth, and the life" (John 14:6).

                                              Pope Saint John Paul II
                                              June 8, 1979


Dear Young People,

   The Church wants to communicate Christ to you. Therefore, today, I would like to tell you why the Church considers Catholic education so important. The answer can be summarized in one Word - in one person - Jesus Christ.

     To receive a Catholic education is to know who Jesus Christ is as a friend, to know Him as someone who cares about you and the person next to you, and to know Him as someone who loves all people, no matter the language they speak, or the clothes they wear, or the color of their skin. Know Christ - this is what Catholic education is all about because this is the meaning of life.

     Catholic education ought to teach you ways of recognizing the needs of others and to have the courage to practice your faith. With a Catholic education, you must try to meet every circumstance of life with the attitude of Christ. Yes, the Church wants to communicate Christ to you so that you will come to full maturity in Him, because He is the perfect human being, and, at the same 
time, the Son of God.

     One day, when you are old enough, you will take personal responsibility for your future, and you will make important decisions that affect the rest of your life. If your decisions reflect the attitude of Jesus, then your Catholic education will have been a success, because you will have learned to meet challenges and crises in the light of Christ's Cross and Resurrection.

     So, be educated. Understand your Catholic faith. Know Christ.

Pope Saint John Paul II
October 3, 1979

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Dear boys and girls,

  The Gospel that you receive must not remain lifeless in you, but must be given to others, communicated like the Apostles who scattered over the world to proclaim to all peoples the message of salvation they had received from their Master and ours, when the Lord Jesus said: "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations... teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:19). You will do this too, if you feel in your hearts that you are true living witnesses to Christ among your friends. Yes, you will be like the Apostles if you are able to manifest your joy in life and growth and love, and if you are able to overcome the deceptive lure of the senses, and if you are humble before other boys and girls who do not have the gifts you have been given or who might be poorer than you. Indeed yes, you will share the Gospel like the Apostles if you do not act selfishly, if you are not hateful, and if  you do not seek revenge but are able to forgive sincerely those who have offended you. If you are able to live in an evangelical way, you will certainly succeed in the Great Commission of Our Lord, to go make disciples of all nations. When other boys and girls see your good works, they will give glory to God the Father in Heaven (read Matthew 5:16).

     Pope Saint John Paul II
     May 26, 1979

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Dear boys and girls,

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   If Christmas is a feast and a moment of joy for the whole Church and for all generations, it is above all a solemnity in which the little ones gather. Children are able to guess the meaning and message of Christmas. With simple faith, they grasp the truth that is at the center of divine work: Jesus Christ, the Son of God, became man, He became a Child, He became fragile and humble and small like all the children of the world. At Christmas, God made Himself close to us.
    On the Holy Night of Christmas Eve, when you place a statue of the child Jesus in the crib, pause for a moment in prayer, just like the shepherds once did! Then, take a moment to ask yourself: "Do I know Jesus? Do I love Jesus? Do I share my knowledge of Him and love for Him?"
     Know Jesus by reading the Bible and listening to you parents, priests, and teachers when they explain Jesus and His holy love. Be friends with Jesus by being close to Him with a heart that is always listening to Him and is always generous with time for Him. Announce Jesus by speaking of Him with all people so that He may be better known by everyone and never forgotten by anyone. 
     I wish all boys and girls to experience this joy of Christmas. This joy is, above all, an internally supernatural joy that is instilled in hearts.
      To all, Merry Christmas!

     Pope Saint John Paul II
     December 22, 1986

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Dear youth disciples,

   When God came into His creation in the person of Jesus Christ, He knew that He would not remain with us in that form forever because He would return to the Father. However, He promised us, “I will not leave you orphans” (John 14:18).

So, Jesus established the Church to be His home and our home in this world. The Church is His home because it is the place where He resides in the Blessed Sacrament. It becomes our home once we are baptized. 

   Furthermore, Jesus entrusted the Seven Sacraments to the Church so that we would always have access to His divine life and love.

   Each Sacrament has a particular purpose given to it by Christ. We can look at each of them to see in what way that particular Sacrament builds up the divine life within us. At the same time, we can also say that all Seven Sacraments work together. 

   They heal us from the effects of original sin and personal sin, and they build up the life of Christ within us. By the power of the Sacraments, He lives in us and His life grows in us. That is why St. Paul can say, “It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).

God bless you.

Father Paul N. Check

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Dear young disciples,

  One of the reasons why we bless ourselves with holy water is to call to mind our Baptism. Whether we are in church or at home, holy water recalls the Sacrament that cleansed our souls of original sin. At that moment, we became part of Christ’s Mystical Body, the Church. 
  Baptism is the gateway to the Church and to salvation because it brings grace to the soul and prepares the soul to receive additional grace as time passes. Once we are baptized, it becomes possible for us to receive the other Sacraments and, therefore, to grow in the life of God. Baptism also enlightens the soul so that it can recognize and embrace the truths of the Catholic faith. 
  On your birthday, you celebrate the gift of life. But on the day of your Baptism, you were born into eternal life and you celebrate the gift of supernatural life, or life in Christ. For the day that you were Baptized is the day that Christ claimed you for Himself and prepared you for the gift of all of the other Sacraments, especially the mercy of God in the Sacrament of Penance, and His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. So, I encourage you to find out the date of your Baptism, if you do not know it, and celebrate that day every year, in the same way you celebrate your birthday. 

    God bless you, 

    Father Paul Check

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