Here is a translation of the message Pope Francis sent to the participants in the National Congress organized by the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI), held at Salerno, from October 24-26 on the theme: ”In Precariousness, Hope.” It was published Saturday.
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Dear Young People!
I greet you cordially on the occasion of the National Congress organized by the Italian Episcopal Conference, at Salerno, on the theme: “In Precariousness, Hope.” The purpose of these days of reflection is to offer prospects of hope, especially to the young generations, at a time marked by uncertainty, confusion and great changes.
In visits carried out in Italy, as well as in meetings with people, I have been able to see for myself the situation of so many unemployed youths, redundancy funds and precariousness. However, this is not only an economic problem; it is a problem of dignity. Where there is no work, dignity is lacking — the experience of taking bread home! And, unfortunately, there are so many young people in Italy without work.
To work means to be able to plan one’s future, to decide to form a family! One really has the feeling that the time we are living represents “the passion of young people.” The “throwaway” culture is strong: everything that does not serve for profit is discarded. Young people are discarded because they are without work. However, in this way the future of a people is disposed of, because young people represent the future of a people. And we must say “no” to this “disposable culture.”
This is “precariousness.” However, then there is the other word: hope. In precariousness, hope. How can one not be robbed of hope in the “moving sands” of precariousness? With the strength of the Gospel. The Gospel is source of hope, because it comes from God, because it comes from Jesus Christ who placed himself in solidarity with all our precariousness.
You are young people who belong to the Church; therefore, you have the responsibility to add the strength of the Gospel in this social and cultural situation.
And, what does the Gospel do? The Gospel generates care for the other, the culture of encounter, of solidarity. Thus, with the strength of the Gospel you will be witnesses of hope in precariousness.
May the Lord bless the works of this Congress. I ask you to pray for me! I will also pray for you!
From the Vatican, October 16, 2014
FRANCISCUS[Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]