Estonian youth got a pep talk on love and the joy of the Christian faith on September 25, 2018.
The venue was the Ecumenical Meeting with young people, in the Kaarli Lutheran Church, Tallinn. And the motivational speaker was Pope Francis. His enthusiasm was palpable:
“Boys and girls, love is not dead. It calls us and sends us forth. It only asks that we open our heart. Let us ask for the apostolic strength to bring the Gospel to others – but to offer it, not impose it — and to resist the tendency to see our Christian life as if it were a museum of memories.
“The Christian life is life, is future, is hope! It’s not a museum…The Lord surprises us because life surprises us always. Let us go forward, to meet these surprises.”
The event truly was ecumenical. On his arrival, the Lutheran Archbishop and the Pastor of the Church welcomed the Holy Father. A group of children of various Christian schools offered flowers to the Pope in the atrium while a song was being intoned. Pope Francis then entered the Church in procession together with the Lutheran Archbishop, the Pastor of the Church of Saint Charles and the Apostolic Administrator of Tallinn.
After the welcome words of two youngsters, a Catholic and a Lutheran, the singing of sings, a brief greeting of the Lutheran Archbishop and some brief testimonies of a Lutheran, an Estonian, an Orthodox an a Catholic representative, the Holy Father gave his address.
In his remarks, the Pope lamented the evidence that many young people don’t think the Church has anything relevant for them. And he suggested this isn’t something entirely new; Jesus was disappointed by the lack of response he received in many places.
“Today, I am here to tell you that we want to mourn with you when you mourn, to accompany your joys with our applause and our laughter, and to help you to be followers of the Lord,” Francis promised. “You, boys and girls, young people, know this: when a Christian community is truly Christian, it does not engage in proselytism. It only listens, welcomes, accompanies and walks, but does not impose anything.”