The usual Saturday evening Mass which took place at the San Lorenzo International Youth Center this past 28 September was the occasion for a very special moment: a commemoration in thanksgiving for the work of Marcello Bedeschi and his team, for his nearly thirty years of service as the president of the John Paul II Youth Foundation; and the beginning of the work of the Foundation’s new Board of Directors with the new president, Carmen Aparicio Valls.
In the homily of the Mass, the Secretary of our Dicastery, Fr. Alexandre Awi Mello, dwelt at length on the theme of generosity, stating, “Marcello and his collaborators have led the Foundation since its beginning, thirty years ago, at the request of St. John Paul II. Through your service in World Youth Day,” he continued, “you were especially concerned with the young ‘Lazaruses’ who needed a ‘Father Abraham’ to welcome them ‘into his bosom,’ and who could help them discover the joy of feeling loved and welcomed in the heart of God, the joy which is a foretaste of the eternal life promised to them.” This same generosity, he went on to add, “characterizes the commitment assumed by the new Board, which gives continuity to this valuable service to young people all over the world.”
The purpose of the Foundation is to promote the evangelization of young people and to support youth ministry throughout the world, collaborating with the Youth Office of our Dicastery, particularly in the organization of World Youth Day. Since 1991 the Foundation, established at the wish of Pope John Paul II originally as “Fondazione Gioventù Chiesa Speranza” (“Youth, Church, Hope Foundation”), has carried out this work above all through the commitment and selfless generosity of Marcello Bedeschi and those who worked with him, as was recalled by Fr. João Chagas, head of the Youth Office, in a brief but poignant moment of thanks.
It is now for the new Board to take up the torch and continue this important service in the same spirit.