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Rome: young people with the WYD Cross in St. Peter’s Square

The youth of the San Lorenzo Center bear witness to the risen Christ.

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The young people of the San Lorenzo International Youth Center (the Centro San Lorenzo, or CSL) have resumed their evangelization with the World Youth Day Cross in St. Peter’s Square, in one of the characteristic activities of the youth center which is located only steps away from the Vatican. Every Friday between 15:00 and 16:30, an international group of young people from the CSL, the Emmanuel School of Mission, and the Apostles of the Inner Life process with the Cross from the Church of San Lorenzo in Piscibus to the Square, to encounter people and to bear witness to the joy of being young bearers of the Good News: that is, to show the Cross as a sign of salvation for the world.

“The experience of evangelizing has made me see how the beauty of the Cross of Christ attracts the gaze and the hearts of so many people. They approach the Cross, at first out of curiosity, but then they discover the mystery of love which is hidden within it. This experience has made me realize that people today are searching for signs, so as to find answers for uncertainty and despair—and I see that the Cross can be the answer, especially for young people who feel alone, lost, or hopeless,” said Wallace Freitas of the Centro San Lorenzo.

The San Lorenzo International Youth Center was established on 13 March 1983 on via Pfeiffer 24, in the immediate vicinity of St. Peter’s Square. As desired by Pope John Paul II, who called it “a forge for the formation of true Christian youth,” the Center has become a “home” for many young people who have come to Rome from different countries and continents. Born in the year of the Extraordinary Jubilee of the Redemption, it has become a symbol of the Holy Father’s concern for young people. It also maintains custody of the Jubilee Cross gifted by the Pope to young people in 1984, which is still considered the main symbol of World Youth Day—and a copy of the Cross, which was blessed by St. John Paul II, is accompanying the preparations for the next upcoming World Youth Day. As of October 2018, the administration of this center has been entrusted to the Shalom Catholic Community.


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