Pope Francis' Meeting with Participants of the "Children's Train"

Here is the translation of the Holy Father’s dialogue with children participating in the “Children’s Train” initiative which brought over 500 children to the Vatican.

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Pope Francis: You children in the orchestra were great and the ones who sang were great too! You were great. Thank you.

You have given me some gifts. One of them was earth from the catacombs. Did you give me that?

Boy: Yes. I did.

Pope Francis: Well, then, it was you. And the other gift that you gave me is a plant. Who gave me that… the plant? And you told me: “It is the plant of light…” how did that go? The plant of light to make the world… I do not hear you…

Children: …better!

Pope Francis: Better! Inside of this is earth from the catacombs…

Boy: From the Catacombs of San Gennaro!

Pope Francis: San Gennaro! They are the most important, no?

Children: Yes!

Pope Francis: Is it because they are in Naples? [The Pope and the children laugh.] You are clever, you Neapolitans! But tell me! Are the catacombs on the beach, out in the sun?

Children: No!

Pope Francis: No. Where are the catacombs?

Children: Under the ground.

Pope Francis: And in the catacombs is there any light?

Children: No!

Pope Francis: What is there?

Children: Darkness.

Pope Francis: Darkness. But you brought me dark earth… But this dark earth, what does it mean? Who knows? Who can tell me? Why did you bring me dark earth? Louder… Louder, I do not hear you…

Children: To make it become light.

Pope Francis: To make it become light. The darkness is for the light: when it is night, everything is dark. But we expect the morning, when the light comes. What is more important, darkness or light?

Children: Light!

Pope Francis: Light! And when we are in darkness, what is it most important to do? To go…?

Children: …to the light.

Pope Francis: …to the light, looking…

Children: …for the light.

Pope Francis: Light. Insider of us, always. Light gives us joy, gives us hope. And are we all able to find the light?

Girl: Yes!

Pope Francis: Well, you are smart! You have no doubts! Are we able to do it?

Girl: Yes!

Pope Francis: Everyone now, are we able to do it?

Children: Yes!

Pope Francis: Yes! Because there are good things in the light and in the light you can do what you said when you gave me the plant: use the fruits to help make a world that is…?

Children: …better!

Pope Francis: Better. And can we make a better world?

Children: Yes!

Pope Francis: Better than this world?

Children: Yes!

Pope Francis: Yes. And better than the world that I live in?

Children: Yes!

Pope Francis: Yes. And what do we do to make a better world? Can we make it better with hatred?

Children: No!

Pope Francis: Good, say it loud!

Boy: With love!

Pope Francis: With love. With love. All of us together, like brothers, fighting side by side for love. And I will tell you something about this. When the apostle John, who was a good friend of Jesus – a good friend – wanted to say what God is, do you know what he said? “God is love.” It is beautiful. Who is God?

Children: He is love!

Pope Francis: Louder!

Children: Amore!

Pope Francis: God is love. And we are going toward the light to find the love of God. But is God’s love inside of us even in the darkest moments? Is God’s love hidden there? Yes, always! God’s love never leaves us! It is always with us? Let’s trust in this love, okay?

Children: Yes.

Pope Francis: I thank you for your visit. I am happy to meet you, that we all met together. I am very happy.

Children: So are we!

Pope Francis:  You too?

Children: So are we!

Pope Francis: Is one of you not happy?

Children: No!

Pope Francis: Oh, good. Good, good…

Children: We are all happy… We love you.

Pope Francis: Thank you so much! And now I will pray to the Lord for you that he make you boys and girls, young men and you ladies, men and women who promote love. When God’s love makes progress, everything is fine. And now I want to give you a blessing. Each one of you think in your hearts of the people you love so that they will be blessed too.

[The Pope gives the blessing.]

Pope Francis: Good… And is there another song?

Children: Yes…

Pope Francis: And let’s sing another one…

[Translation by Joseph Trabbic]
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