Pope to altar servers: “You are close to the altar, close to the Lord”

Details, from CNS: 

Marking the feast of the martyrdom of St. John the Baptist, Pope Benedict XVI said Christians must not bow to the pressure of the powerful who demand a denial of Christ or of the truth he taught.

“The truth is the truth and there is no compromise,” the pope said at his weekly general audience Aug. 29, the day the church remembers St. John the Baptist’s beheading.

An estimated 2,500 people gathered in the town square just outside the papal summer villa in Castel Gandolfo for the main part of the pope’s audience.

Walking with a cane, the pope then held a second, mini-audience in the courtyard of the papal villa with 2,600 French altar servers — boys and girls — who were on a pilgrimage to Rome.

Pope Benedict told the young people they were blessed to be “particularly close to Christ Jesus in the Eucharist. You have the enormous privilege of being close to the altar, close to the Lord.”

The pope prayed that being an altar server would help the young people deepen their friendship with Christ and enthusiastically share God’s love with their friends and families.

“And, if one day you feel called to follow the path to the priesthood or religious life, respond generously,” he told the youngsters.

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