5-6:30 p.m. - Rally with Seminarians and Young People at Saint Joseph Seminary Approximately 25,000 young Catholics from throughout the United States, including 5,000 seminarians will be in attendance at Saint Joseph Seminary, 201 Seminary Avenue, Yonkers.
- 12:00 noon - Concert begins. Concert activity ceases when the Pope arrives at seminary for the meeting with youth with disabilities. That meeting inside the chapel will be shown on screens to the rally crowd.
- 5:00 p.m. - Arrival, welcome, and rally
- The Pope arrives via popemobile at the rally stage
- Cardinal Edward M. Egan makes opening remarks
- Three youth speak
- 10 youth present gifts of dark bread, light bread, rice, unleavened bread and maize, representing the five continents
- Eight youth present birthday gifts to the Pope. They include the following: a spiritual bouquet; the book “Empire State Catholics: A History of the Catholic Community in New York State”; and images of six individuals who were born in or served in New York and have been declared saints, blessed or venerable by the Catholic Church: Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, Saint John Neumann, Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, Venerable Pierre Toussaint and Padre Felix Varela
- Address: Pope Benedict XVI
- Cardinal Edward M. Egan presents 15 young people to the Pope for a personal greeting
- The Pope blesses the crowd and departs to the popemobile, which takes him back to the motorcade in front of the seminary
- 6:30 p.m. - Rally concludes
- Gary Stern (Blogging Religiously) calls it a "mini-World Youth Day":
There are people everywhere. I ran into Father Luke Sweeney, head of vocations for the Archdiocese of NY, and he said that it’s like a mini-World Youth Day.
Hoping for some future priests in that crowd, Father?
The music is loud, just like at a rock concert. Rappers and rockers praising Jesus and pumping up the pontiff. Kelly Clarkson is supposed to come on in about 15 minutes.
I’ve talked to a lot of kids from burbs and, almost to a person, they seem kind of stunned to be with so many other Catholic kids, all waiting for the pope. . . .
- Pope cheered at youth rally in Yonkers, By Ernie Garcia, Jorge Fitz-Gibbon and Leah Rae. (The Journal News April 19, 2008):
YONKERS - Pope Benedict XVI rode around the grounds of St. Joseph’s Seminary in the popemobile to cheers from thousands as a youth rally was getting under way that has drawns tens of thousands of young people and families.
The pope arrived at the seminary shortly after 4:35 p.m. and blessed 50 disabled children and their caregivers in the seminary’s chapel.
He glided up the aisle, going back and forth to children lined up on either side of him touched their heads very gently.
In his blessing, he extended his hands over the crowd and said God had blessed them with life and differing talents and gifts so they could serve him in various ways in a “sign of hope for everyone.”
He continued: “Sometimes, it is challenging to find a reason for what appears only as a difficulty to be overcome or even pain to be endured. Yet, our faith helps us to break open the horizon beyond our own selves to see life as God does.”
The pope was seated in the chapel with the Deaf Choir of the New York Archdioces to his left. They expressed a hymn in sign language, and he applauded them.
Three little girls went up to the altar and gave him a child’s painting. Then, he left the chapel and got into the popemobile for the trip to the great stage set up on the grounds for the youth rally.
Tens of thousands of young people and families from all over the country were gathered on a field next to seminary building. They filled hours of waiting by watching performers on a large concert stage, with screens at either side and flanked at the left with the seal of the Archdiocese of New York and at the right with the papal seal. ... (Read More)
- Pope urges young people to banish evils of drugs, poverty, racism, by Benedicta Cipolla (Catholic News Service April 19, 2008):
Addressing a crowd of 25,000 young people and seminarians, Pope Benedict XVI spoke of the "monster" that cast a shadow over his own childhood and urged the current generation to banish the darkness that exists today.
Speaking April 19 at a boisterous rally on the grounds of the Archdiocese of New York's seminary in Yonkers, the pope said that while young people now enjoy democracy's freedom, "the power to destroy does, however, remain."
Pope Benedict offered a personal reflection on his own youth in Germany, "marred by a sinister regime that thought it had all the answers." Nazism, he said, "banished God and thus became impervious to anything true and good." The pope was forced to enroll in Hitler Youth as a boy but soon stopped going to meetings. Last year he said at a youth meeting in Germany that he decided to become a priest after witnessing the Nazis' brutality.
At St. Joseph's Seminary, the pope said the evils of substance abuse, homelessness and poverty, racism, violence and the degradation of girls and women result in people being treated as objects and the denial of God-given human dignity.
Pope Benedict called the manipulation of truth "particularly sinister." When freedom disregards absolute truth, relegating it instead to the private sphere of the individual, relativism takes hold, he said.
Truth is neither an imposition nor a simple set of rules.
"Ultimately truth is a person: Jesus Christ," he said.
During the meeting, young people from schools in the region presented the pope, who celebrated his 81st birthday April 16, with several gifts, including framed photographs of Sts. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Frances Cabrini and John Neumann, Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha and Venerables Pierre Toussaint and Father Felix Varela, all of whom were either born in or served in New York. He also received books on the history of the Catholic Church in New York; bread, rice and maize, which symbolized the varied cultural background of the youth present.
The rally gathered young people and seminarians, and Pope Benedict encouraged those studying for the priesthood to "reject any temptation to ostentation, careerism or conceit. Strive for a pattern of life truly marked by charity, chastity and humility, in imitation of Christ," he said. ... (Read More)
- Benedict and the Young, by Colleen Carroll Campbell:
It happens every time the pope encounters a young crowd, and it is happening again at the papal youth rally in Yonkers: Young Catholics will turn out in droves to give Pope Benedict a warm, rock-star welcome. And many of their elders will watch and wonder: What do they see in him?
- Musicians play "Papalpalooza" for Benedict, by Deborah Evans Price (Reuters April 19, 2008)