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‘The Church Is Young at Heart,’ Pope Reminds Young People

Francis Urges Young People to Be Courageous As He Opens Pre-Synod for 2018 Synod

The Church is young at heart…

Opening the pre-synod this morning, March 19, 2018, on the Feast of St Joseph in Rome, Pope Francis noted this as he addressed more than 300 young people gathered in the Eternal City to share together ahead of this synod and whose outcomes will be taken into consider during the October synod.

It is interesting to recall that the Maria Mater Ecclesiae International Pontifical College, where the Pre-Synod will be held and where the Pope was this morning, received 20 years ago, on March 19, the visit of Pope St John Paul II, “great promoter of youth.”

The upcoming synod is another gesture of closeness, demonstrating the Church’s interest to listen to and to give young people an opportunity to express their concerns, to find the way of supporting them.

In his address today, Pope Francis underscored that close dialogue with younger generations is a great help.

“I invite you then, this week, to express yourselves frankly and freely,” he noted, adding: “You are the protagonists and it is important that you speak openly.”

“‘But I am ashamed, the cardinal will hear me …’ Hear what?, he’s used to it.

The Pope assured them that their contribution will be taken seriously.

“We need you young people, living stones of a Church with a young face, but not made up, as I said: not artificially rejuvenated, but revived from within.”

“And you provoke us to get out of the logic of ‘but it’s always been like that,’ he stressed. “And that logic, please, is a poison. It’s a sweet poison, because it calms your soul and leaves you as anesthetized and does not let you walk. To get out of the logic of ‘always has been done this way,’ to remain creatively in the wake of authentic, yet creative, Christian tradition.

The Pope repeated his recommendation that Christians read the Book of the Acts of the Apostles, citing the creativity of those men.

“Those men knew how to go on with a creativity that if we do the translation to what it means today, it frightens us!”

Pope Francis concluded, thanking them and reminding them to pray for him.

About Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is 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 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, at times from the papal flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has done television and radio commentary, including for Vatican Radio, Sky, 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': or

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