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‘The Church Is in Need of Your Faith’, Pope Tells French Young People

Also Reminds Youth to Root Themselves in God’s Love, Be Transformed & Renewed by the Holy Spirit

The Church is in need of your faith…

Root yourselves in the love of God…

Let yourselves be transformed and renewed by the Holy Spirit so you can bring Christ wherever you go…

Pope Francis gave these three reminders in the Vatican today, April 25, to the young people of the French Diocese of Aire et Dax, saying in doing these things, they will witness the joy and youthfulness of the Gospel.

Revive Faith Despite Difficulties

The Holy Father began saying their visit to Rome is a lovely occasion offered to them “to revive their gift of faith,” in Rome, “near the Apostles Peter and Paul and all those witnesses — among them some young people –, who suffered martyrdom for having chosen to remain faithful to Jesus Christ.”

This, Francis said, is yet very important because a lot of people think that today it’s more difficult to say one is Christian and live one’s faith in Christ.

“And you undoubtedly, have experienced these difficulties, which sometimes become trials. In fact,” he acknowledged, “the present context isn’t easy, also because of the painful and complex question of the abuses committed by members of the Church.”

However, he repeated that today is not more difficult than at other times of the Church, only different, encouraging them therefore, to take advantage of this pilgrimage to rediscover the Church and faith.

Be Inspired by the Saints

“With the example of the saints that faced the difficulties proper to their times,” Francis said, “I encourage you to remain united in the Lord Jesus through listening to the Word, sacramental practice, fraternal life and service to others.”

With gestures and words, the Holy Father reminded, you can manifest that ‘God is always new,” and leads “human beings, beneath the appearance of superficiality and conformity, to continue to seek the answer to the question on the meaning of life.”

“I count on you,” Pope Francis concluded, saying: “The Church is in need of your enthusiasm, of your intuitions and of your faith!”

Here is a Zenit translation of the Pope’s prepared address for the young people present.

* * *

Dear Friends,

I’m very happy to receive you on the occasion of your pilgrimage to Rome. I thank your Bishop, Monsignor Souchu, for his words. I greet you affectionately and, through you, I express my spiritual closeness to the young people and to all the faithful of the Diocese of Aire and Dax.

I thank God for the initiative of those responsible for youth pastoral care that, with the support of your Bishop, suggested to you to live these “Days of the Youth of Landes.”

It’s a lovely occasion offered to you to revive in you the gift of faith here, at Rome, near the Apostles Peter and Paul and all those witnesses — among them some young people –, who suffered martyrdom for having chosen to remain faithful to Jesus Christ. This is yet very important because a lot of people think that today it’s more difficult to say one is Christian and live one’s faith in Christ. And you undoubtedly have experienced these difficulties, which sometimes become trials. In fact, the present context isn’t easy, also because of the painful and complex question of the abuses committed by members of the Church. However, I would like to repeat to you that today it’s not more difficult than at other times of the Church; it’s only different. Therefore, take advantage of this pilgrimage to rediscover that the Church, of which you are members, “has walked for two thousand years, sharing the joys and hopes, the sadness and anguishes of men. And she walks as she is, without taking recourse to some cosmetic surgery” (Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Christus Vivit, 101). In fact, looking at you, I recognize the work of the Lord Jesus, who doesn’t abandon His Church and allows her, thanks to your youth, your enthusiasm and to the talents He has entrusted to you, to renew and rejuvenate herself in the various phases of her long history.

Dear friends, with the help and support of your Pastors, of your elder brothers and sisters in the faith, and with the example of the Saints that faced the difficulties proper to their times, I encourage you to remain united in the Lord Jesus through listening to the Word, sacramental practice, fraternal life and service to others. In the Church, holy and made up of sinners, may you be able to recognize what that word, that message of Jesus is, which God wills to address to the world through your life in what it has that is unique (Cf. Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate, 24). In the image of the emblematic tree of your region, the pine of the Landes, which made it possible to restore swampy areas, root yourselves in the love of God so that the Church, where you live, is loved. Yes, let yourselves be transformed and renewed by the Holy Spirit to take Christ to every environment and to witness the joy and youthfulness of the Gospel! And, on the example of Saint Vincent de Paul, of Landes like you, make visible the love with which God has filled you, loving “with the strength of the arms and the sweat of the brow’! In this connection, be always bridge builders between persons, seeking to make a culture of encounter and dialogue grow, to contribute to the advent of genuine human fraternity. With your care for little ones and the poor, you can light stars in the night of all those that are tried in different ways. With gestures and words, you can manifest that “God is always novelty, [. . . ] [and that] He leads you where most wounded humanity is found and where human beings, beneath the appearance of superficiality and conformity, continue to seek the answer to the question on the meaning of life” (Ibid. 135). I count on you. The Church is in need of your enthusiasm, of your intuitions and of your faith!

With this hope, I entrust you to the Lord, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Buglose, and of Saint Vincent de Paul. I give you and to all the faithful of the Diocese of Aire and Dax the Apostolic Blessing. And, please, pray for me as I pray for you! Thank you.

[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s working translation of prepared discourse by Virginia M. Forrester]

About Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is a Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in four languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, at times from the papal flight, and has done television and radio commentary, including for Vatican Radio and BBC. She is a contributor to National Catholic Register, UK Catholic Herald, Our Sunday Visitor, Inside the Vatican, and other Catholic news outlets. She has also collaborated with the Vatican in various projects, including an internship at the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and is a collaborator with NBC Universal, NBC News, Euronews, and EWTN. For 'The Other Francis': http://www.gracewing.co.uk/page219.html or https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

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