During his homily yesterday, Pope Francis confirmed to the faithful, especially the youth that were present, that he will travel to Brazil in July for World Youth Day 2013. The international Catholic youth event will take place in Rio de Janeiro.
The Holy Father addressed the youth, who were present to celebrate the local World Youth Day which began 28 years ago by Pope John Paul II on Palm Sunday in 1985.
Pope Francis noted the presence of the youth in his homily, saying that he thought of them celebrating “around Jesus” while they waved their olive branches.
“I think of you crying out his name and expressing your joy at being with him! You have an important part in the celebration of faith! You bring us the joy of faith and you tell us that we must live the faith with a young heart, always: a young heart, even at the age of seventy or eighty.”
“With Christ, the heart never grows old!,” he exclaimed.
Pope Francis encouraged the youth to follow the example of Christ who loved mankind even to the Cross.
“You carry the pilgrim Cross through all the Continents, along the highways of the world! You carry it in response to Jesus call: “Go, make disciples of all nations”, which is the theme of World Youth Day this year. You carry it so as to tell everyone that on the Cross Jesus knocked down the wall of enmity that divides people and nations, and he brought reconciliation and peace,” he said.
Concluding his homily, the Roman Pontiff confirmed that he was also “setting out on a journey” with them “in the footsteps of Blessed John Paul II and Benedict XVI.”
“I look forward joyfully to next July in Rio de Janeiro! I will see you in that great city in Brazil!
The Holy Father concluded by inviting the faithful, especially those attending World Youth Day to prepare themselves well so that the upcoming gathering would serve as a “sign of faith for the whole world.”
“Young people must say to the world: to follow Christ is good; to go with Christ is good; the message of Christ is good; emerging from ourselves, to the ends of the earth and of existence, to take Jesus there, is good!,” the Pope said.