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Pope Francis as he leads a prayer at the statue of Virgin Mary during the annual feast of the Immaculate Conception at Piazza Mignanelli in Rome

ANSA - CLAUDIO PERI

Young Pilgrims Get a Call from the Pope

‘Life is a journey. Always move forward, seeking happiness for yourselves and for others.’

There is nothing unusual for young people to have a special event at the end of the school year. But an event the night of June 9, 2018, became extra special for some young Italians, reported Vatican News. They got a call from Pope Francis.

“Life is a journey,” the Pope said. “Always move forward, seeking happiness for yourselves and for others.”

Perhaps some of those receiving the call appreciated the encouragement to move forward – they were part of a crowd on a long walk.

Tens of thousands of young people joined in the 28-kilometer walk at night through the hills in the Italian “Le Marche” region from Macerata to the House of Loreto. The annual Macerata-Loreto Night March began in 1978, as an idea by Fr. Giancarlo Vecerrica, now bishop emeritus of Fabriano-Matelica. He started the pilgrimage as a way for Italian students to give thanks to Our Lady in Loreto at the end of the school year.

“Happiness”, Pope Francis said, “is not something you buy at the supermarket. Happiness comes only in loving and letting oneself be loved, that is, loving others. Wars do not give you happiness; enmities do not make you happy; gossip does not make you happy. Love and service to one another is the path to happiness.”

 

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