“Missionary commitment is an essential dimension of faith. We cannot be true believers if we do not evangelize”. Benedict XVI wrote this in the Message for the 28th World Youth Day to be held in Rio in July 2013. In view of the upcoming Church meeting the Pontiff invites young Catholics to make themselves missionaries among their many peers that “no longer see any meaning in their lives”, pointing out two areas where “missionary commitment is all the more necessary”: that of communications especially the “digital continent” and that of human mobility.
The Pope is convinced that the Internet has the ability to help the Church reach the new generations and urges them to prepare themselves to understand the faith “with that same precision with which an IT specialist knows the inner workings of a computer”. Above all, Benedict XVI suggests the introduction of “the culture of this new environment of communications and information technology” into the values of Christian life. The Pope then encouraged the awareness of “the hidden dangers they (the media) contain, especially the risk of addiction, of confusing the real world with the virtual, and of replacing direct and personal encounters and dialogue with internet contacts”.
Concerning this second area, the Pontiff underlined how nowadays “more and more young people travel, sometimes for their studies or work, and at other times for pleasure”. But his thoughts also go to “the movements of migration which involve millions of people, very often young, who go to other regions or countries for financial or social reasons”. According to the Pope in these phenomenon “we can find providential opportunities for sharing the Gospel”. It is up to young people to witness the faith in these settings.
The theme of the meeting in the Brazilian metropolis is “Go and make disciples of all nations!” (Mt 28:19). Benedict XVI explained that the word 'nations' refers to “the different areas of our lives, such as our families, communities, places of study and work, groups of friends and places where we spend our free time”. And renewing the invitation to participate in the July meeting, the Pope pointed out how the symbol of the WYD is “the celebrated statue of Christ the Redeemer overlooking” the Brazilian city: Christ's “open arms are a sign of his willingness to embrace all those who come to him”.