The Pope urges youths to resist lure of money

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The Independent Online

Pope John Paul II yesterday wound up the Vatican's World Youth Day in front of an estimated two million young Catholics from around the world, urging them to resist the pull of materialist values.

Pope John Paul II yesterday wound up the Vatican's World Youth Day in front of an estimated two million young Catholics from around the world, urging them to resist the pull of materialist values.

The 80-year old Pope presided over the last two days of the event at the Tor Vergatta University on the outskirts of Rome, the biggest gathering so far of the church's jubilee year. He closed the celebration - which some were calling a Catholic "Woodstock" - with an invitation to the next one in Toronto in 2002. "Before we leave this great and beautiful gathering, I want to announce the next World Youth day will be held in Toronto," he said.

He also exhorted a mostly Western crowd to resist the pursuit of prosperity that he said was drawing young Catholics from religious vocations.

The weekend began withmusic from around the world and fireworks. On the capital's hottest weekend, a sprawling, sweating camp ground sprang up - the crowds had to be hosed down because of the heat and dozens fainted. Veiled nuns prayed side by side with young women in bikinis and youths wearing only shorts.

The Pope started World Youth day in 1985 in Rome, drawing 200,000 people. Since then the event has drawn up to four million pilgrims.

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