Here is a translation of the Holy Father’s question-and-answer session, as well as his address to members of the Eucharistic Youth Movement who met with the Pope on Friday in Paul VI Hall.
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MAGAT DIOP (ITALY)
My name is Magat. I was born in Pescara from Senegalese parents. I was not yet baptized, nevertheless I encountered the Lord in the eyes of my mother and father who at six months took me into foster care.
I believed I was abandoned because I was a girl. Growing up, however, I discovered that I was given into foster care so that I would be guaranteed a better future.
Today is my birthday; I am 18. I have waited for this day so much. My Baptism is ever closer. I’m happy.
The EYM was fundamental. It helped me a lot. I feel it is the place where what I am counts and not so much the goods I possess. It is the place where I’ve been able to live stupendous experiences and meet wonderful persons. I feel that the EYM is my home, able to make me feel part of a land that by law still does not belong to me. The EYM is my Land!
Question: The family is the place where we young people live gratuitous love, but often it is also the place where we experience strong tensions and struggles between two generations that seem unable to meet. What steps can we take, and what
GREGORIUS – INDONESIA (he speaks in Indonesian). My name is Gregorius, I am Indonesian and a student of the Canisius High School of Jakarta. I have also been an altar boy in my parish since 2010.
The first time I arrived in my school I met many good guys. But I thought: is the diploma the only thing that makes a youth a “person”? Subsequently I was involved in artistic and sports activities until I became a candidate for the Student Council. This was a challenge for me. The formation was so hard that I felt I couldn’t do it. And once I was appointed I was so scared of the responsibilities that I made many errors. Then, however, a docent told me that as a youth I shouldn’t be afraid to explore, to be creative. And this gave me courage.
As an altar boy in the parish I learned that without motivation and without the interior call to service, I wouldn’t have been able to be a good altar boy, and that I was nothing without God. This is what makes us special.
Question: Indonesia is a country with great cultural, religious and ethnic differences. Catholics are a minority and, because of this plurality, to which is added political prejudice, peace is always at risk. What hope does the Holy Father place in Catholic youth in the context of such a pluralist and diversified community?
ANA CAROLINA SANTOS CRUZ (BRAZIL)
My name is Ana Carolina, I am 19, I’m Brazilian, born in Sao Paulo.
Dearest Pope Francis,
It is with great joy that I am present in this commemoration of 100 years of history. I was
Question: What was the greatest challenge or difficulty that the Pope faced in the Mission as Religious?
PIN JU – TAIWAN (he speaks in Chinese)
I am Pin Ju from Taiwan. I was born to a Catholic family. I am very proud of my faith, despite the percentage of the Taiwanese Catholic population being less than 1.3% of the total. As a member of the EYM I always wonder what I can do for my faith. When I was a University student, I organized a musical group to sing songs that pleased young people. Now I work as Marketing Manager and I sing in a band. Taiwanese young people are gradually committed to having ever more persons know the love of Jesus. Our band also wants to share the beauty of God and his love with other persons. After long efforts, our album will be published this month of August. We also want to encourage people to find their own way to witness the love of God around them. Just do it. In His love we can do everything.
Question: What was your moment of greatest joy after becoming Pope? Do you see real signs of joy in the Church and in the world for this 21st century?
LOUISE COURANT (FRANCE)
My name is Louise. I’m 24 and I come from France. It is a year since I began to work at the Ministry of Culture and at the same time I perform a lot of music. Music is an important part of my life but also in the history of my faith. It made me discover the EYM first through its songs. I loved the youth camps, then I became part of a MAGIS team three years ago. The EYM’s slogan “ a springboard for life, a momentum for the faith” summarizes what I live today. Jesus is present in my life as a way and I seek to know him more. The EYM and MAGIS are very important for me because they help me to feel myself a member of a community and I have been able to discover there the importance of rereading, of service and of prayer.
Question: In the Gospel Jesus says to us: “You are my friends if you do what I command you.” But in this relation of friendship, must one also expect in return a manifestation of his presence?
AGUSTIN ASCHOFF (ARGENTINA)
My name is Agustin Aschoff. I live in villa Cura Brochero, Cordoba, Argentina. It’s a very small village but with immense faith, which awaits the speedy canonization of Blessed Father Brochero. There are four of us in my family: my mother, Miriam Rosel; my father, Arturo Aschoff and my older brother, Matias Aschoff. I am in the 5th year of the Christ Worker Technical Institute and I have been participating in the EYM for four years. I learned to missionize in the EYM. I like to get to know people and to share the faith with them. Every time I go to missionize I feel I must place my heart closer to Jesus to be able to get closer to others. For me the EYM is a style of life. It changed my life and I am ready for what God needs because He was with me.
Question: Pope Francis, what would you say to young people so that they discover the profundity of the Eucharist?
Thank you so much for the questions.
There are two words, at the beginning of the questions, that struck me, and they are words that are lived in daily life, be it in society, be it in the family. The words are “tension” and “conflict.” Magat Diop spoke of “tension” in family relations, and Gregorius Hanzel spoke of “conflicts.” Conflict. But let’s think, what would a society, a family, a group of friends be without tensions and conflicts? You know what it would be? A cemetery, because there are no tensions and there are no conflicts in dead things. When there is life, there is tension and there is conflict, and therefore it is necessary to develop this concept and to seek, in one’s life, the true tensions, how these tensions arise, because they are tensions that say that one is alive; and how these tensions are. Only in Paradise they won’t exist! We will all be united in peace with Jesus Christ. And each one mu
st single out the tensions in his life; tensions make one grow, they develop courage. And a youth must have this virtue of courage! A youth without courage is an “insipid” youth; he is an old youth. Sometimes I want to say to young people: “Please don’t retire!” Because there are young people that retire at twenty: they have everything secure in life, everything is tranquil and they don’t have “tensions.”
It is clear that there are tensions in the family. How is tension resolved? With dialogue. When there is dialogue in a family, when there is the ability to say spontaneously what one thinks, the tensions are resolved well. Higher, higher … There’s no need to be afraid of tensions. But it is also necessary to be alert, because if one loves tension for the sake of tension, this will make one ill and one will be a conflictive youth in the negative sense, one who loves to be always in tension. No, it’s not this. Tension arises to help us take a step towards harmony, but pure harmony causes another tension to be more harmonious.
To say it clearly: first, don’t be afraid of tensions, because they make us grow; second, resolve tensions with dialogue, because dialogue unites, be it in the family, be it in a group of friends, and one finds a way to go together, without losing one’s own identity; third, don’t be too attached to tension, because this won’t do you good. Is it clear? Tensions make one grow; tensions are resolved with dialogue, and be careful not to be too attached to a tension, because in the end this destroys. I’ve said that a youth without tensions is a ‘retired” youth, a “dead” youth; however, a youth that lives only in tension is a sick youth. This must be distinguished.
Gregorius spoke of conflicts: conflict in a society such as Indonesia, where there is a great internal diversity of cultures – a social conflict. Conflicts can also do us good, because they make us understand the differences, they make us understand how things are different and they make us understand that if we don’t find a solution that resolves the conflict, there will be a life of war. To be addressed well, conflict must be oriented to unity, and in a society such as yours [he turns to the youth that asked the question], which has a culture with so many different cultures inside, unity must be sought but in respect of each identity. Conflict is resolved with respect for identities. When we look at TV or the newspapers, we see conflicts that are not resolved and end in wars: a culture that doesn’t tolerate another. We think of those Rohingja
“But this one isn’t a Catholic, he doesn’t believe in Jesus Christ …” “Respect him. Look for what he has that is good. Look in his religion, in his culture, for the values he has. Respect.’ Thus the conflicts are resolved by respecting the identity of others. And the tensions – conflicts imply tensions – are resolved with dialogue. And I answer your question – from Indonesia – this way.
Pele’s fan [the Brazilian girl] asked this question: what was the greatest challenge or difficulty that Pope Francis faced in his mission as a Religious?
I would say: to always find peace in the Lord, that peace that only Jesus can give. In works, in tasks the challenge is to find that peace which means that the Lord accompanies one, that the Lord is close. And there’s another challenge: to be able to distinguish Jesus’ peace from another peace that isn’t Jesus’. Understood? And this is something that you must learn well, and ask the Lord for the grace to be able to discern true peace from false peace. To discern – this is a challenge. And true peace always comes from Jesus. Sometimes it is “wrapped” in a cross. However, it is Jesus who gives one peace in a trial. It doesn’t always come as a cross, but true peace is always of Jesus. Instead, another peace, that superficial one, that peace that makes you content, that contents you somewhat but is superficial, comes from the enemy, from the devil, and it makes you content: “I am content, I’m not concerned about this, I’m in peace …” However, inside, inside there is deceit.! And here it’s necessary to ask for this grace, to be able to distinguish, to be able to know what is the peace of Jesus and what is the peace that comes from the enemy, which destroys one. The enemy always destroys: he makes one believe that this is the way and then, at the end, he leaves one alone. Because, remember this: the devil is a bad paymaster; he never pays well! He always cheats one; he is a cheater! He makes one see false things, and one thinks the thing is good, that it gives one peace, one goes there and in the end one doesn’t find happiness. Always seek the peace of Jesus: this is a challenge, a challenge that I had, that I have and that you all have. And what is the sign of the peace of Jesus? How does one know that this peace is from Jesus? The sign is joy, profound joy. The devil never gives one joy. He gives one some amusement, engages in some “circus,” makes one happy for an instant, but he never gives one joy. That joy only Jesus can give by giving one the Holy Spirit. And the challenge for us all – also mine – is to always seek the peace of Jesus, also in bad moments, but the peace of Jesus. And to be able to distinguish it from that other false peace, which in the end is a cheat: one ends up badly and one isn’t well paid. And Jesus is a good paymaster, he pays well, he pays very well!
Pin-Ju Lu asked me if I see real signs of joy in the Church, in the world for this 21st century. There are signs: this is one of them [he points to the young people present in the Hall]. This is a sign of hope, to see young people like you who believe Jesus is in the Eucharist, who believe that love is stronger than hatred, that peace is stronger than war, that respect is stronger than conflict, that harmony is stronger than tensions … This is a hope; this gives me joy! And this gives hope because Pin-Ju Lu’s question was: “What was the moment of greatest joy after having become Pope?” – and then the signs of hope or positive signs in this world where there are so many wars. We are in a war: I repeat to myself so much that this is a Third World War in pieces. But we are at war, and this is negative. However, there are signs of hope and there are signs of joy.
And I would like to take up an expression of Magat Diop at the beginning, a word from which I took the word “tension”: the family. “Strong tensions and struggles between two generations.” I would ask: which are the two generations? Tell me, which are they? I ask, why does one see that you are all silent. Are they those of parents and c
hildren? Are these the two generations? Yes, the tensions between father and mother and me: the fact that I want one thing because I think that life is like this, and they think of it another way … But there is another generation. Why didn’t you speak of grandparents? Look, I will tell you something – but it isn’t a reprimand of you—grandparents are the great forgotten ones of this time. Now a bit less, here in Italy, because as there isn’t any work and they have a pension, see they remember the grandparents! But grandparents are the great forgotten ones. And grandparents are the memory of a family, the memory of the country, the memory of the faith, because they are the ones that give it to us – the grandparents. And I ask you this question: do you talk with your grandparents? [They answer: “Yes!”] Do you ask your grandparents: “Grandfather, grandmother, how was that? How is this done? What did you do?” Do it, do it! Because grandparents are a source of wisdom, because they have the memory of life, the memory of the faith, the memory of the tensions, the memory of the conflicts … And grandparents are good! I like to speak with grandparents so much. I will tell you an anecdote. The other day, in the Square, in one of the Wednesday Audiences, I was going around in the ‘popemobile” and I saw a little grandmother there, elderly: one could see she was elderly! – but she had eyes shining with joy. And I had the popemobile stop and I got down. And I went over to greet her. And she was smiling. “Tell me, grandmother, how old are you?” “92!” “Ah good, great! Joyous! But can you give me the recipe for how to arrive at 92 so?” And she said to me: “You know, I eat ravioli!” And then she added: “And I make them myself!” But this is an anecdote to tell you that to meet grandparents is always a surprise. Grandparents always surprise us: they know how to listen; they have patience! …We are speaking of three generations, of at least three. And when grandparents live at home they also help so much to resolve tensions, which are normal in a family. Don’t forget grandparents. Understood?
Louise: Jesus says in the Gospel: “You are my friends if you do what I command you.” But in this relation of friendship must we also expect a manifestation of his presence in return?
Friendship always takes two: I am your friend and you are my friend. And Jesus manifests himself always – I’ve spoke of this – in his peace. If one draws close to Jesus he gives one peace, he gives one joy. And when one meets Jesus, in prayer, in a good work, in a work of help to another – there are so many ways to find Jesus – one feels peace and also joy. This is his manifestation, Louise. It’s like this. Jesus manifests himself in turn. But one must seek him be it in prayer, be it in the Eucharist, in daily life, in the responsibility of one’s tasks and also in going to find the neediest and help them: Jesus is there! And he will make one feel it. Sometimes one will feel what is proper only to an encounter with Jesus; amazement. Amazement to encounter Jesus, to encounter Jesus: please don’t forget this word – to encounter Jesus!
Let us think of that day (cf. John 1:35-452): it could have been ten o’clock in the morning. Jesus was passing by and John and Andrew were with John the Baptist, chatting there about so many things. And John the Baptist said: “Behold, the Lamb of God!” And, curious, they went after Jesus , to seek him. It’s curiosity… And Jesus pretends he doesn’t know and turns to them and says: “What do you seek?” “Where are you staying?” “Come and see!” (verses 38-39). And the Gospel says they stayed with Jesus the whole day.
But what happened afterwards? Andrew went in haste to his brother Simon: he was full of joy, a great joy; he was full of amazement for having met Jesus, and said: “We have found the Messiah!” (verse 41). And John did the same with James. It’s like this. The encounter with Jesus gives one this amazement. It’s his presence. Then he goes, but he leaves one peace and joy. Never forget this: amazement, peace, joy; it’s Jesus. This is the exchange.
And now “Maradona” [the Argentine boy]. Pope Francis what would you say to young people so that they discover the profundity of the Eucharist?
It always helps to think of the Last Supper, and that word that Jesus said when he gave the bread and wine, his Body and his Blood: “Do this in memory of me.” The memory of Jesus present there; the memory of Jesus that, in every Mass, is there, and he saves us there! — the memory of that gesture of Jesus, who afterwards went to the Garden of Olives to begin his Passion. The memory of such great love he who gave his life for me! Each one of us can say this.
The grace of memory, of which I spoke when I talked about grandparents, the grace of memory: the memory of what Jesus did. It’s not just a ritual, it’s not a ceremony. There are very beautiful ceremonies, military ceremonies, cultural … no, no. It’s something else: it’s to go there, to Calvary, where Jesus gave his life for me. Each one should say this. And with this memory, seeing Jesus, receiving the Body and Blood of Jesus, one reflects deeply on the mystery of the Eucharist. “Oh Father, when I go to Mass I’m bored …” Because it isn’t a ritual. Remember this, if you want to deepen your reflection on the mystery of the Eucharist. This is a good verb, because Paul says it to one of his favorite disciples – I don’t remember if it was to Titus or Timothy, but to one of the two, who were two Bishops whom he had made Bishops. Remember Jesus Christ (cf. 2 Timothy 2:8). Remember Jesus Christ, when I am at Mass there, he who is giving his life for me. And thus one deepens one’s reflection on the Mystery. And then, when you don’t go to Mass, but go to pray before the Tabernacle, remember that He is there, and that He gave his life for you. The memory. It was the command that Jesus gave his own: “Do this in memory of me.” That is, every time you do this celebration, remember me; every time you go to pray before the Tabernacle, remember this. And don’t forget what Saint Paul said to his disciple, also a Bishop: Remember Jesus Christ!
Thus we end our dialogue of today. I thank you. I had the questions written, but I didn’t read them. What I’ve said came from the heart, as it came at the moment.
And think of these words: tension-dialogue; Conflict-respect-dialogue; exchange of the presence of Jesus-friendship with Jesus: peace and joy; encounter with Jesus: amazement, joy, peace; deepen reflection on the Eucharist: memory of what Jesus did, and thus you will go forward. The world has so many awful things, we are at war, but there are also so many beautiful and good things, and so many hidden saints in the People of God. God is present. God is present and there are so many, so many motives of hope to go forward, courage and forward!
Before giving the blessing we can ask help from Our Lady. Because when children begin to walk they look for their mother’s hand not to go the wrong way. And we must go on the way of life by the hand of our mother. Let us pray to Our Lady, each one in his own language.
“Hail Mary …” [Blessing]
And please, please, I ask you: don’t forget to pray for me.
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