The “diakonia of hope” of the bishop of Rome, who confirms his brethren in the faith, and presides in charity, was embodied in the existential wounds of five young detainees, representatives of an age that could not be left excluded from the feast in view of the banquet in the Kingdom.
It is for this reason that in these days a hymn is raised strongly through the streets of Rio: “Juntos ao Cristo com Pope Francisco” (Together with Christ with Pope Francis).
The great small hero of the morning, still, was a nine year old boy.
While the papal entourage made its way through the picturesque Quinta de Boa Vista park, a nine year old boy wearing a Seleçao soccer jersey, jumped the hurdles and made his way through to the white jeep, where he was received affectionately by Pope Francis, and whispered in the Pontiff’s ear: “I have a very important message for you…I want to become a priest.”
At this point the Pope, visibly moved, clutched him to his chest and told the boy. “Your dream begins to fulfill today. I will pray for you, but you must pray for me.
With trembling legs and his hands over his face, full of emotion and excitement, the young boy returned to his father, happy and even more proud of his son for this unique moment.
At the hour of the Angelus, after the recitation of the Marian prayer, Pope Francis once again addressed his thoughts to the elderly during the liturgical remembrance of the feast of Sts. Joachim and Anne, grandparents of Jesus, parents of the Virgin Mary.
The time then came for the luncheon with twelve youth, a symbolic figure of the 12 apostles and evocative of the Last Supper which was the first Eucharist.
In the afternoon, beyond all expectations, a steady stream of young people, more than one million followed the Via Crucis (The Way of the Cross).
Pope Francis once again made his way towards the boardwalk, blessing and kissing children. Shortly before arriving to the stage, the Holy Father took little Sara in his hands, a girl only a few months old with a serious illness.
The young mother was visibly moved, not only or not so much for the fact that the Pope blessed her little girl, but surely, in virtue of her faith, that she received a miracle through the blessing of the Pope. The mother showed a rosary that Francis gave to her little girl, a green colored one, the color of hope. This woman is a witness to the living faith of Brazil and is the representative of so many women who suffer the same for their children, like Mary at the foot of the Cross.
On Atlantica Avenue in Copacabana, roughly one kilometer from the main stage, on Friday evening, the Cross given by John Paul II to the youth was advanced its way forward, a cross given to them so that it may travel to the ends of the earth bring its redemptive charge.
St. Leonardo of Porto Maurizio, who was the great promoter of the devotion of the Via Crucis, stated when practiced constantly, it would sanctify an entire parish.
In a breathtaking choreographed scene, this this uplifting expression of popular piety was manifested to a planetary parish of youth who have materialized here in Rio de Janeiro.
The fourteen stations, according to the idea of artistic director Ravael Cabral, have been designed to communicate to the youth. Each concerned a theme related to existential questions that the youth are asking: “a young missionary”, “a young convert”, “a young person in a recovery community”. “a young spokesperson for all mothers”, “a seminarian”, “a religious who fights against abortion, renewing her yes to life”, “a couple in love”, “a young spokesperson for suffering women”, “a disabled student on a wheelchair”, “a young user of social networks”, “a detainee and a young person involved in a prison pastoral”, “ a young person with a terminal illness”, a young deaf-mute person”.
The text prepared by Fathers Zezinho and Joaozinho, well-known priests who catechize through religious songs, did not simply want to evoke the problems, but to encourage the youth to engage in actions of Christian solidarity.
It is for this reason that after the final station, a few meters from the WYD cross, Pope Francis in a loud, firm voice asked each youth: “Which one are you? […] Are you like Pilate, who washes his hands so as to not against the tide or are you like Cyrene and Mary, who help Jesus to carry his cross?”
Gaining the attention and the prayers of the youth in the “Land of Santa Cruz”, Pope Francis has also planted on the beach of the conquistadors a sign of love, that an instrument of death has become an instrument of life in Jesus who shares with us a personal “Via Crucis”. great or small as it is.