Pope in Paul VI Hall: Copyright Photo.Va - Archives L'Osservatore Romano)

Pope in Paul VI Hall: Copyright Photo.Va - Archives L'Osservatore Romano)

Pope to Young People: 'If You've Fallen Down, Get Up!'

During Vigil for 32nd World Youth Day, Says Be Protagonists of Your Lives, Talk With Your Grandparents, Don’t Retire at Age 20

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“Dear young people, be courageous! “But, Father, I have sinned, I fall so many times . . .” There comes to mind a very beautiful Alpine song, which says: “In the art of climbing, what is important is not to not fall, but not to stay fallen.”
Pope Francis gave young people this encouragement at 6:30 Saturday afternoon, April 8, 2017, during a prayer vigil held in Rome’s Marian Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore, in preparation for the 32rd World Youth Day, which was celebrated yesterday at the diocesan level, on the theme “For He who is mighty has done great things for me” (Luke 1:49).
The Vigil was organized by the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, in collaboration with the Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life and with the Diocese of Lazio. The meeting was preceded by singing, readings and testimonies of young people of Rome and Lazio.
In the course of the celebration, after the testimonies of a Sister and a youth, the Holy Father gave an off-the-cuff address to the young people, in which he thanked them for their presence, noting that the evening had a twofold beginning: the beginning of the path to the Synod, which has a long name: “Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment,” but we say: “the Synod of Young People,” it’s understood better! And also the second beginning, toward the next international World Youth Day in Panama in January of 2019.
While at the heart of his message, the Pope urged young people to never feel discouraged.
No matter what, he underscored, “Go on! You fall? Get up and go on.”
No Exclusion
Referring to the upcoming Synod for young people, he stressed, “no young person must feel excluded!”
“But . . . we hold the Synod for Catholic young people . . . for young people who belong to Catholic associations, so that it is stronger . . .”
“No!” he admonished, “The Synod is the Synod for and of all young people! Young people are its protagonists. “But also young people who feel themselves agnostics?” Yes! “Also young people who have a lukewarm faith?” Yes! “Also young people who have estranged themselves from the Church?” Yes! “Also young people that – I don’t know if there are any . . . perhaps there are some – young people who feel themselves atheists? Yes! This is the Synod of young people, and we all want to hear you.”
Francis stressed that every young person has something to say to others, something to say to adults, something to say to priests, to sisters, to bishops and to the Pope.
“We all need to listen to you!”
No Retirement at Age 20
The Holy Father then urged them to recall his words at the World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland in July 2016.
“I said two things there, perhaps someone remembers: it is awful to see a young person who is retired at 20, it’s awful; and it is also awful to see a young person who lives on a couch, isn’t that so? — Neither “retired” young people nor “couch-potato” young people.””
Rather, he urged them to be walking, going forward, looking to the future.
Must Risk
Reminding them that the future is in their hands, he reminded them that they must be willing to make risks.
“Today you must prepare the future,” he said.
In the Synod, he told them, the whole Church wishes to hear from young people, specifically what they think, feel, want, criticize and of what things they are repentant.
“Everything,” he said.
“The Church is in need of yet more Spring, and Spring is the season of young people.”
The Argentine Pontiff invited them to undertake this journey, namely that to the Synod and to Panama, and to do so with joy, aspirations, and without fear or embarrassment.
“Courage is needed,” he said.
Another tidbit of wisdom, the Pontiff told them, was to go back and talk to their grandparents.
Today, we are in need of it more than ever, we are in need of this bridge, of the dialogue between grandparents and young people 
“This is the task I give you in the name of the Church: to talk with the elderly. “But it’s boring . . . they always say the same things . . .” No, listen to the elderly person. Talk to them, ask them about things.”
He urged them to think of what their grandparents dreamt, or what that elderly man or woman dreamt. “Make them talk, take up those things and build bridges to the future. This is the task and the mission that the Church gives to you today.”
“Let them dream and draw from those dreams to go forward, and render that prophecy concrete,” he said.
A Pope in Panama 2019
“Thank you so much for your courage, and . . . see you in Panama! I don’t know if I will be there, but the Pope will be there. And, at Panama, the Pope will ask you: “ Did you talk with old people? Did you talk with the elderly? Did you take the elderly man’s dream and transformed it into a concrete prophecy?” This is your task,” the Pope said.
Pope Francis concluded, offering his blessing, asking them to pray for him, and saying let us all together prepare ourselves for the Synod and for Panama.
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On ZENIT’s Web page:
Full Text: https://zenit.org/articles/popes-words-during-prayer-vigil-for-32nd-world-youth-day/
 
 

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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': http://www.gracewing.co.uk/page219.html or https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

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