Beliefnet
KORAZIM, Israel, March 24 (RNS)-Celebrating Mass for tens of thousands of youngpeople on the Biblical Mount of Beatitudes Friday, PopeJohn Paul II challenged the youth of the world to become the apostlesof the 21st century.

"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations," the pope said. "For 2,000 years, Christ's followers have carried out this mission. Now,at the dawn of the third millennium, it is your turn. It is your turn togo out into the world to preach the message of the Ten Commandments andthe Beatitudes."

On the fifth day of his weeklong pilgrimage to the Holy Land, theRoman Catholic pontiff flew in a military helicopter to Korazim inGalilee in the north of Israel to celebrate the youth Mass, meet withIsraeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, and visit sites of Jesus' ministry inthe towns of Tabgha and Capernaum.

"I believe the visit of the pope is of immense historicalimportance," Barak said after the 15-minute private meeting with JohnPaul in the Franciscan Sanctuary of the Mount of the Beatitudesoverlooking the Sea of Galilee. "It became a major step towardreconciliation between the Jewish people and Christianity."

The Israeli leader said he briefed John Paul in "a very detailed wayon the peace process on both the Syrian-Lebanese and Palestiniantracks," and he predicted that the pope's "message of tolerance" would"improve the atmosphere between Jews and Christians, and in this region,improve the peace process."

The 79-year-old pontiff, looking more relaxed than he has at anytime during his grueling trip, shook hands cordially with ForeignMinister Shimon Peres and other Israeli ministers involved in his visit.

"See you again," he said as they left in order to return home beforethe start of the Jewish Sabbath at sundown Friday.

John Paul devoted the rest of the day to the spiritual pilgrimage hehad hoped to make to the places where Jesus lived. He left the sanctuaryin his popemobile, a bulletproof glass box on the bed of a small truck,to visit the Churches of the Multiplication of the Loaves and of thePrimacy of Peter in Tabgha and the Sanctuary of the House of St. Peterat Capernaum.

The Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves contains the remainsof a fourth-century church on the traditional site of Jesus' miracle ofthe loaves and fish.

The Church of the Primacy of Peter stands on the shore of the Sea ofGalilee where, according to tradition, Jesus performed the secondmiracle of the fish after his Resurrection and conferred the primacy ofthe church on Peter, making him the first pope.

The sanctuary at Capernaum is a glass building in the shape of aboat constructed in 1990 around the remains of Peter's house, which thefirst Christians had used as a church. Nearby are the ruins of thetown's ancient synagogue.

Capernaum was home to the Apostles Andrew, James, and John as well asPeter, and the place from which Jesus conducted his ministry.

The hillside overlooking the Sea of Galilee was muddy after heavyrain overnight, and a cold wind whipped the pope's gold vestments, butthe estimated 70,000 young people sang and danced during the Mass andapplauded with enthusiasm.

Organizers expected 100,000 people to attend the Mass, including2,400 from the United States and thousands of Palestinians from the WestBank.

Although Israel promised full access to Palestinian Christians, badweather and reported bureaucratic problems securing permits to enterIsrael kept many away.

Informed that the Israeli Meteorological Service had advised lateThursday that the pope cancel what was to be the largest and last publicMass of his pilgrimage to the Holy Land, John Paul said, "Don't eventalk about it," sources in his entourage reported.

The pope called the gathering on the Mount of the Beatitudes "arehearsal for the World Youth Day to be held in August in Rome" as partof Jubilee Holy Year celebrations. He urged the young people to join inthat event as well.

Archbishop Boutros Mouallem, patriarch of Israel's 54,000-member GreekMelkite community, welcomed John Paul to Korazim, and the LatinRite Mass incorporated texts from the Greek Melkite, Maronite, Byzantine,and Syrian rites.

The site was at the heart of Jesus' three-year ministry in theGalilee.

According to the Gospels, it was on that steep slope above the seathat Jesus gathered his disciples to hear the Sermon on the Mount,instituted the 12 Apostles, and after his Resurrection, sent them outto evangelize all the nations.

"Like the first disciples at the Sea of Galilee, you must leaveyour boats and nets behind, and that is never easy--especially when youface an uncertain future and are tempted to lose faith in your Christianheritage," the pope told the young people.

As he has throughout his time in Israel, the pope emphasizedChristianity's roots in the Old Testament. He recalled that he began hispilgrimage marking the third millennium of Christianity last month onEgypt's Mount Sinai, where the Bible says God spoke to Moses and gave him the Ten Commandments.

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