“May the Lord’s merciful gaze touch us and help us to welcome our poverty in order to go ahead trustfully, and to make efforts together in that ‘revolution of tenderness’ to which Jesus opened the way through his Incarnation.” Speaking to seventy members of the International Catholic Association for the Service of Young Women (ACISJF) the Pontiff made this statement.
In his opening remarks, the Pontiff thanked those gathered for their generous efforts in the service of young women who live in situations “of precariousness and suffering.”
The ACISJF was founded in Fribourg, Switzerland, by Louise de Reynold in response to the needs of young women who, due to social changes, lived far from their family environment.
The number of these women in difficulty, the Pope observed, is increasing, and the many forms of poverty that affect them “call out to us and should inspire a new creativity, to offer them the material and spiritual aid they need.”
Through ongoing activities to welcome them and reflecting on how to face the new challenges generated by today’s world, he said, “Your work seeks to be at the service of the life and dignity of the person, demonstrating that ‘true faith in the incarnate Son of God is inseparable from self-giving … from service.”
The young, he underscored, are most in need of “attention and to be listened to.” Given this, the Pope exhorted the association to help them “grow in confidence, to find points of reference and to progress in human and spiritual maturity, nourished by Gospel values.”
“Be credible witnesses for them, so that they experience the joy of knowing they are loved by God, their Father, and called to happiness. And, at the same time, let yourselves be instructed by these young people whom you accompany and assist. Even amid their difficulties,” he said.
The Pontiff reminded those gathered how these young people often bear witness to those essential virtues of fraternity and solidarity and remind us that we are frail and depend on God and on others.
“I hope that the sense of belonging to the Church, who is a great family, may grow in you,” the Holy Father said.
Pope Francis concluded, inviting them “to announce to all the joy of the Gospel, bear in mind the diversity of cultures, of religious traditions, and of the origins of the young women you wish to serve, as well as their richness that demands to be received with respect.” (D.C.L.)
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