The Pope has given children five suggestions on how to be strong and active Catholics.
Addressing a delegation of children of Italian Catholic Action (I.C.A.) in the Vatican this morning, the Pope drew his reflections from a theme set by by the group, “All to Be Discovered.”
Founded in 1905, I.C.A. is a widespread lay Roman Catholic association in Italy.
“Never give up,” he proposed as the first tip, because “what Jesus has thought for your path is all to be built together: together with your parents, brothers, friends, companions of school, of catechism, of oratory and of I.C.A.”
The second suggestion, he noted, is to take an active interest in the needs of the poorest and those who suffer.
Third, the Pope said, is to love the Church and priests, and to put yourselves at the service of the community.
The fourth suggestion, the Jesuit Pope said, requires the children being apostles of peace and serenity, starting first within their families and then to all the others in their lives.
Fifth, Francis said, requires talking to Jesus: prayer. Jesus, he said, is the “greatest friend who never abandons.”
“Entrust to Him your joys and displeasures,” he added, telling them, “Run to Him every time you make a mistake and do something bad, in the certainty that He forgives you.”
The Holy Father also told the children to speak “to all” of Jesus, His love, mercy, and tenderness, “because friendship with Jesus, who gave His life for us, is an event to be told to all.”
“What do you say? Do you want to try to put into practice this proposal with ‘all’?” he asked them, noting that he thinks they already probably carry out many such suggestions.
The Pope invited them to make even greater efforts, saying that with the grace of His birth, Jesus wishes to help them to make a “more determined, more convinced, more joyful step” to become His disciples.
“A little word is enough: ‘Here I am,’” Francis said, reminding them, “We are taught it by our Mother, Our Lady, who answered the Lord’s call this way: ‘Here I am.'”
He then called on the little ones to join him in praying a Hail Mary.
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