It was his last official discourse of WYD2016 — and perhaps given confidence by the Panamanian volunteers for #WYD2019, Pope Francis gave his first off-the-cuff address (not counting his evening reflections from the window of the archbishop’s residence).
Speaking in Spanish, the Holy Father told the youth that they are to be hope for the future, but that there are conditions for this.
The first, the Pope said, is that the young people have to have “memory” of where they come from.
“If you want to be hope for the future,” he said, “you have to receive the ‘torch’ from your grandfather and grandmother.”
To prepare for Panama, for World Youth Day 2019, he said, you must speak more to your grandparents, and if they are already gone, to other elderly people.
To have ‘memory’ is the first condition to be hope for the future, he said.
The second condition, he said, applies to the present, and that is that you must be brave and have valor.
Pope Francis referenced the witness of the volunteer who passed away from cancer on July 2. In today’s ceremony, his brother read the testimony that the young man had prepared to give, about his dream to be present at the WYD to greet the Pope.
He is not here, the Pope said, but he showed bravery. “He sowed hope for the future.”
So, memory and bravery, the Holy Father emphasized. These are the conditions for being hope for the future.
“Is that all clear?” he asked, then adding: “I don’t know if I will be in Panama, but I can assure you of something, that Peter will be in Panama. And Peter will ask you if you spoke to your grandparents to prepare, if you’ve had courage and valor.
“To Peter, you will respond.”