Pope's Chat With Young People at Roman Parish of St Mary in Setteville

‘I’ll give you advice: speak with your grandparents, ask grandparents questions. Grandparents are the memory of life, they are the wisdom of life. Talk with grandparents. Understood?’

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Here is a ZENIT working translation of Pope Francis’ chat with the young people during his pastoral visit yesterday afternoon at the Roman Parish of St Mary in Setteville:
Holy Father:
Thank you. Thank you for your joy, for your plans  … most beautiful are those that you gave me. Be good, and thank you for the things you said. [Post-Confirmation], Confirmation … But here in Rome I heard that Confirmation is the “Sacrament of goodbye”: after Confirmation, we don’t see you anymore … Is this true? And the others, did they not return after Confirmation?  … The after-Confirmation is a problem. And the fact that you are here is a grace of the Lord. The Lord has given you this grace, of not making of Confirmation the Sacrament of “goodbye” until the wedding day. So many years without a community … And you were chosen by the Lord to be a community. And this is great. I think that Maria [a girl of the parish] said: “We are here because the Lord loves us.” But, tell me, and the others, those who are not here now, does the Lord love them?  … Do you know if the Lord loves them or not?  … Does He love them? And why aren’t they here? If you feel loved by the Lord, and. because of this, the lord has brought you here, whey aren’t the others here? What’s going on? … Let someone intelligent say a word to me … Speak, speak, I want to hear you.
[A child speaks but he is not understood]
Holy Father
You are good! How old are you?
[<Another> child] He is eight.
Holy Father:
These are older than 18 and none of them has been able to speak, and you have [succeeded] … Good, continue so! Do good, do good. He is courageous! Without embarrassment — be courageous, continue! Come, come … Listen, not all heard you. Are you able to repeat what you said to me? Say it …
[Child] In practice, there are persons that are not together with, making a union, because they are not here with us sharing joy […] Holy Father:
This one has courage! He is courageous. He said two things: listen to the Lord’s Word and find joy. Two things that I take from what he said. Those young people listening to the Lord’s Word, but how do we say the Lord’s words? When I hear a young man or a young girl speak of the Lord, or a male catechist or feminine catechist, I don’t know, whichever one, I am bored. We speak of the Lord with a certain sadness. He said joy: this is the secret. To speak of the Lord with joy and this is called Christian witness. Do you understand? Christian witness is to speak of the Lord with joy, but also with the joy of one’s life, namely to do with my life what I say of the Lord. And you, who are the older ones, which of you is able to tell me what Christian witness is? Do you know what witness means? Do you or do you not know? Yes … You are? Explain to me what Christian witness is, how it’s done … Say it, say it, speak …
[Boy] By giving an example of life.
Holy Father:
Giving an example of life. Here is one. So, if I say: I am very Catholic, I go to Mass every Sunday,” but then I don’t talk with my parents, the elderly don’t interest me, I don’t help the poor, I don’t go to see the sick … is this a testimony of life? No! I can speak of the Lord, but if I don’t give witness with my life, as you said, with my own life, it’s no good! “But, Father, I’m a Christian, and I speak of the Lord!” Yes, but you are a parrot-Christian! Only from here [he points to the mouth]: words, words, words … Do you remember that song?  No, not you, you are young. Yes? “Words, words, words …” and nothing more. Christian witness is done with the word, with the heart and with the hands. Let’s repeat together: with the word, with the heart, and with the hands — very good. Now, I ask you – let’s see who answers, because I’m talking, and this isn’t right – how is Christian testimony given with the word? One <of you> … You have already spoken, another … [someone intervenes]. See, recounting his own experiences, his relation with the Lord, with the word. Good! How is Christian testimony done with the heart?
[A girl] By giving oneself.
Holy Father
Giving oneself — explain this a bit, you’re right, but explain it a bit, what do you wish to say with that word:  giving oneself?
[Girl] To open oneself to the other …
Holy Father
Opening oneself to the other, good …
[Girl] Accept the other as he is …
Holy Father
Accept the other as he is, not as I want him to be, good! Speak, speak again …
[Girl] Listen to the other
Holy Father
Listen to the other – this is interesting. A Christian is a man, is a woman, is a youth, is a male child, is a <girl capable> of listening, who is able to listen. Is able to listen to the Word of God and is able to listen to the other – <but>, only with the ears? … With the heart, too; <one who> is able to be moved. Good, good! And how is Christian testimony given with the hands?
[Girl] By making oneself humble
Holy Father
Making oneself humble …. And what is humility?
[Girl} Going to encounter persons.
Holy Father
Going to encounter persons … And if someone is angry with you, and has talked about you, does Christian witness say: “No, don’t go with him”?
[Girl] No. It’s difficult to put pride aside, but the Word teaches us to make ourselves humble and to ask for forgiveness, to go first of all to ask for forgiveness from the person with whom you’ve quarrelled.
Holy Father:
Ask for forgiveness, forgive … You’re good! With the heart, with the hands … Also Christian witness with the hands …
[Girl] Act …
Holy Father:
Act, as for example?
[Girl] By making yourself useful to others.
Holy Father:
Behold the works of mercy: to go to seek the sick, the imprisoned, to help a companion to do his tasks … all these things. Always help! Witness: with the tongue, with the mouth, confess the Lord; with the heart, always open to love; and with the hands: the works of mercy. This is Christian witness. Have you understood now? But you must talk among yourselves about these things! OK. <Do you have> a question? Speak, speak out loud!
[Girl] How can one explain, to one who doesn’t believe, that faith is important?
Holy Father
How can you explain to someone who doesn’t believe why and how faith is important? Is this the question? One mustn’t explain. Listen well to this: if you have a friend who doesn’t believe, you must not say: “You must believe because of this, or that, or this other …” and <then> explain everything to him. This mustn’t be done! This is called proselytism, and we Christians must not engage in proselytism. What must be done? If I can’t explain, what must I do? Live in such a way that he or she asks me: “Why do you live this way? Why have you done this?” And then, yes, explain. Understood? But never explain first, to convince <someone>. Faith is a grace of God and one needs restlessness [interior seeking] of the Holy Spirit to have faith, and the restlessness of the Holy Spirit comes also from our testimony. “But look, this is crazy! Instead of coming with us to have a good time, he has gone to watch over a sick <person>, to accompany a sick <person>. But he is crazy! Tomorrow I’ll ask him …” “Tell me, why did you do that?” It’s so. It’s restlessness in the heart that makes you ask. First do, then explain. Understood? And the Holy Spirit enters the heart, makes the heart restless with the testimony of Christians. Therefore, in regard to the Doctors of the Law of the times, Jesus said to the people: “Do all that they say, but not what they do.” They didn’t give witness. And Christian witness  — what you said about how to live, how to be a witness – is what stirs restlessness in the other, who asks you the question and <then> you explain. Have you understood the answer? But never begin first by explaining. Let him or her ask the question, and arouse the question with your witness. Understood? There. <is there> anything else, another question?
[Girl] Forgive. To forgive is important in Christianity … But are you always able to forgive?
Holy Father
It’s difficult. I knew a little old lady who was good! I think she even beat her husband … [he laughs, they laugh], but she was good. She was a good, strong woman. And this woman said: “Forgive always. To forget is difficult.” When you are at “war,”  let’s say you are in enmity with a person, your heart and that person’s heart are wounded … right? The wound of hatred, of enmity, of jealousy …, so many wounds. And if a person does evil to another, the wound becomes greater. It’s difficult to forgive, but it can be done. We think of Jesus, of the example He gives us, when He says to the Father: “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do” (cf. Luke 23:34). One can forgive. The wound can heal, <can>be healed, the wound closes. But many times the scar remains. And this means: “I can’t forget, but I’ve forgiven”  — always, forgiveness. But don’t go to that person to forgive them as if you were giving alms, no. Forgiveness is born in the heart and one begins to treat that person as if nothing had happened … A smile, and gradually forgiveness comes. Forgiveness is not done by decree: there must be an interior journey to forgive. It’s not easy … but this can be done. Is this OK? Do you agree?
Another question, from that side … They are better than you! [he laughs, they laugh] [Boy] In your opinion, what is the greatest gift God has given us?
Holy Father:
Thank you, But I don’t know what to say to you … Because in theory I could say: the greatest gift is faith. Yes, it’s true – this in theory. But what I feel as a great gift of God is my family: father, mother, five siblings, the whole family … For me, this is a great gift, to live in the family. This is why the family is important … And the family is father, mother siblings … and does it end there? No …, the grandparents! What do you think of grandparents? … Who is answering? —
[Girl] They are second parents.
Holy Father:
That they are second parents – this is good. They are those that watch over the family “behind” the parents. It’s good, a bit more, something else …
[Boy] Often, more than second parents, grandparents can also be friends …
Holy Father:
See, grandparents can also be friends. I know youngsters that are more able to speak with grandparents than with parents. Because they feel more like friends, more understood by grandparents … But I’ve heard someone say: It’s boring to speak with grandparents! Grandparents are old stuff, they’re not useful.” Is this true?
[Youngsters] No!
Holy Father
No! I’ll give you advice: speak with your grandparents, ask grandparents questions. Grandparents are the memory of life, they are the wisdom of life. Talk with grandparents. Understood? Very good. I don’t know … can we continue? Another question. I would like to look here, but they are all silent …
[Girl] How have you been able to not lose the faith between the highs and lows of life?
Holy Father:
But faith can be lost …. I, sometimes, thinking now of some moments <in my life>, …. faith was so low that I couldn’t find it and I lived as if I didn’t have faith … Then it was found again. The highs and lows of life also have a first moment, a shock that moves you and makes one lose faith to a degree, but then with time one finds it again. There is a word in the Gospel, when Jesus says: Everything is possible for one who has faith,” everything. And the father of that sick child, the father brought the child so that Jesus would cure it. What did he say to Jesus? “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief” (cf. Mark 9:23-24). Faith is not always [great] … There are days of darkness, everything <is> dark … I have also walked in my life with days like that. But one must not [get] frightened: <one must> pray and have patience, and then the Lord makes Himself seen, makes us grow in faith and makes us go forward. Have I answered your question?
[Girl] Yes, yes, thank you.
Holy Father:
I’ve answered?
[Girl] Yes, because sometimes I lose faith, but  … I try to find it again …
Holy Father:
Yes, you’re right, because some days the faith is not seen: everything is dark … And when one sees calamities … Yesterday, for instance, when I baptized 13 children of those affected by the earthquake, the father of one of them had lost his wife. “I lost my love,” he said to me. One thinks, can this man have faith after this tragedy? And one understands that there is darkness there … “And if I don’t believe you …” Be quiet. Accompany him, respect that darkness of the soul. Then it will be for the Lord to reawaken faith. Faith is a gift of the Lord. It [is for us] only to protect it. One doesn’t study to have faith; faith is received as a gift. Thank you.
They tell me that I must give the blessing, and Jesus always gave a blessing. And I will give you all a blessing, but especially to the silent, to those who were unable to speak … But beware, to find young people that don’t speak … is a tragedy!
Now we pray to Our Lady: Hail Mary …
[Blessing] Before I leave, a question: what must be done with grandparents?
[Youngsters} Talk with them!
Holy Father:
And listen to them! Talk and listen to them, Pray for me! Thank you.
[Original text: Italian]  [Translation by ZENIT]  

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