Resuming his General Audiences after a brief summer break, Pope Francis has said that the young continue to be a prophetic sign of hope for the future.
The Holy Father’s strong words came in the wake of his 15th Apostolic Visit abroad and his first trip to John Paul II’s homeland of Poland, July 27-31, which was the focus of his discourse this morning. This morning’s audience was held in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall, rather than St. Peter’s Square because of Rome’s intense August heat.
The Holy Father pointed out how his pastoral visit to Poland for World Youth Day took place 25 years after the historic visit of Saint John Paul II following the fall of the Iron Curtain.
Even if Poland, Europe and the world have changed greatly since then, the Pontiff acknowledged, “the young continue to be a prophetic sign of hope for the future.”
The Pope observed that as the thousands and thousands of young people waved the flags of their respective countries, they formed !a mosaic of fraternity.”
‘The new generation of young people– inheritors and continuers of the pilgrimage initiated by Saint John Paul II–gave the answer to today’s challenge,” he said. “They gave a sign of hope, and this sign is called fraternity, because, in fact, in this world at war, we need fraternity, closeness, dialogue and friendship.”
With its rich cultural and spiritual heritage, Poland, the Pope stressed, “reminds us that Europe has no future apart from its founding values, centred on the Christian vision of man and including the message of mercy expressed so eloquently in the last century by Saints John Paul and Faustina Kowalska.”
The Pontiff also mentioned his emotional morning at Auschwitz-Birkenau, where he, in silence, pondered all that happened there and remembered the victims.
“Looking at that cruelty, in that concentration camp, I thought immediately of today’s cruelties, which are similar: not so concentrated as in that place, but everywhere in the world; this world that is sick of cruelty, of pain, of war, of hatred, of sadness. And that is why I always ask you for prayer: may the Lord give us peace!”
Remembrance, he noted, “serves as a warning and a charge for our own time, so torn by conflicts, hatred and violence,” he said, before thanking all those who made his visit possible.
The Pope expressed his hope that this visit “offered a sign of fraternity and peace to Poland, Europe and the world.”
In his remarks, Pope Francis also remembered an Italian journalist who died suddenly last week in Krakow and an Italian girl who after participating at the World Youth Day died of Meningitis while traveling home.
The Holy Father also recalled the opening of the Summer Olympics on Friday in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro and his visit to Assisi tomorrow.
On ZENIT’s Web page:
Full Text of General Audience: https://zenit.org/articles/general-audience-on-world-youth-day-in-poland/
Articles for today’s General Audience:
On Death of Italian Journalist in Krakow: https://zenit.org/articles/pope-asks-pilgrims-to-pray-for-italian-journalist-who-died-suddenly-covering-wyd-in-krakow/