In a letter to young people participating at the 2015 European Meeting of Youth (EEJ2015), Pope Francis encouraged them “not to conform themselves to a mediocre life without aspirations.”
The Holy Father’s message was read at the closing Mass of the EEJ2015, which gathered an estimated 6,000 youth from Europe this week in Ávila, the birthplace of St. Teresa of Jesus. The letter was sent on the Pope’s behalf by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, and read at the end of the celebration by Fr. José María Gil Tamayo, Secretary General of the Spanish Bishops Conference.
In the message, the 78-year-old Pontiff greeted the participants and organizers who are also celebrating the V Centenary of the Birth of St. Teresa.
“Saint Teresa’s expression, ‘in hard times, strong friends of God,’ has special resonance when it refers to young people and their yearning for truth, goodness and beauty,” the letter stated.
“Therefore, the Holy Father encourages all not to conform themselves to a mediocre life without aspirations, and to force themselves instead to grow in a profound life of friendship with Christ, to become every day more aware of the immense gift received in Baptism and in Confirmation, which spurs us to love Christ in our brothers.”
The message concluded with the Holy Father’s reminder to the youth to “grow always in love for the Church and for the brothers.” He also imparted his Apostolic Blessing to those gathered.
The Closing Mass of the youth gathering was presided by Cardinal Ricardo Blázquez, Archbishop of Valladolid and President of the Spanish Bishops Conference, as well as concelebrated by 30 bishops and 52 priests.