VATICAN CITY (AP) – Pope Benedict XVI offered a rare glimpse into his past Saturday and gave a small lesson in Catholicism to children who attended his first youth rally at St. Peter’s Square – an event that was reminiscent of the gatherings inspired by Pope John Paul II.
Benedict recalled the sunny, “beautiful Sunday” in 1939 that he made his First Communion at the age of 9, telling an estimated 150,000 children and their parents he had begun a “lifelong friendship with Jesus” that he hoped the children would also enjoy.
“So I went forward in my life, and thanks to God, the Lord has always taken me by the hand, guided me even in difficult situations,” Benedict said.
Benedict was responding to a question about his own First Communion posed to him by a little girl who had received the sacrament for the first time this year. Communion is the sacrament in which Catholics receive bread and wine that they believe is the body and blood of Christ.
Benedict had invited all children who had made their First Communions in 2005 to attend the Vatican rally, which was full of singing and dancing – including break-dancing – and was reminiscent of the youth rallies favored by John Paul.
…During a question-and-answer session with a half-dozen children, one boy told the pope that he had been told that Christ was really present in the Eucharist, or Communion.
“But how? I don’t see him,” the boy said. Benedict chuckled.
“We don’t see him, but there are so many things that we don’t see that exist and they are essential,” Benedict said. “For example, we don’t see our reason, but we still have reason. We don’t see our intelligence, but we have it … We don’t see the electric current, but we still see it works: We see how this microphone works, the lights.
“We don’t see the risen Lord with our eyes, but we know that where Jesus is, men change, become better, become a bit more able to have peace and reconciliation.” [Source]