Pope stops to say thanks

Just before flying out of Madrid, Pope Benedict took time out and stopped at the Madrid IFEMA conference centre to say thanks to the 14,000 volunteers who worked to stage World Youth Day.

“With your service, you have shown the face of kindness, friendliness and commitment to others,” the the 84 year old pope  said.

“I want to stop and thank you with all my heart for your invaluable service.”

“Everyone did his or her best, by work and prayer, to weave, stitch by stitch, the magnificent, colorful tapestry of this World Youth Day,” the Holy Father said.

Hundreds of volunteers, many wearing their green T-shirts, waved and cheered as the Popemobile entered the building. Several stood on the shoulders of friends to get a better look.

Volunteers gave up participating directly in the events to help make things run smoothly.

“At every event in which I took part, you were there: some were highly visible, while others stayed in the background, helping to ensure that everything took place in an orderly fashion,” he said.

“This sacrifice was itself a beautiful and evangelical way to take part in the celebrations: you gave yourselves to others,” Pope Benedict said.

“To love means to serve,” he said, “and service increases love.”

“Thank you for looking after the Pope.”


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