July 28, 2013
“Christ has confidence in young people and entrusts them with the very future of his mission”. These were the first words Pope Francis said on his arrival toBrazil, when he spoke to civil and religious authorities who welcomed him. “Jesus calls you to be a disciple on a mission! What does the Lord tell us today? Three words: Go, to serve, without fear”. This was the appeal made by the Holy Father during his homily to three million young people who attended Holy Mass at Copacabana beach at the conclusion of World Youth Day.
These words are simple, new and of all times, engaging, like so many others spoken, heard and taken up during the past week at Rio de Janiero. The young people now return to their towns and to their countries, to their families, groups, associations and congregations, and they go to make themselves heard, to “make noise” as the Pope invited them to do, to fight for values, to care for others of their age and also for the elderly, to grow in their faith and live it in its entirety. Let’s hear what some young people have to say.
Donna fromLebanon says, “The Pope speaks in a very simple and direct way, one that is suitable to our times”.
For Joaquìn, an Argentinian who followed WYD from a distance, “to make noise” means to be a driving force in society. “I really feel part of what Pope Francis said about young people – elderly – adults. Now I am young, so this is what I have to do. I like this more general view, which is the right one”.
Francesco, an Italian adds: “What strikes me most is ‘how’ he says things. However, after these days I feel that I have to commit myself seriously towards renewing society from within by trying to live the Gospel in everday life”.
Nahomi fromParaguay says: “The experience of WYD helps me to renew myself as a young member of the Focolare Movement”.
And Joaquìn continues to say: “It seems that during this WYD, it is not the young people who are urging on the Pope, but it is rather the Pope who is urging them. It is amazing! I regret not having done my best to go toRio. Now, when I see all that is happening, the videos, the energy that is being transmitted only though contact by internet….I really wish that I would have gone!”.
Daniela, an Italian comments: “This ‘reciprocity between generations’ which the Pope insists on, can become an explosive force, a mutual aid. After having followed this WYD, deep down in my heart, I feel a great desire to live a more radical life and to go out towards others so that my everyday life can be that window through which the future enters the world!”
Iggy, fromNew Zealand says: “ This WYD pushes us to revolutionize the world around us and ‘conquer’ other young people to live such a life; especially in my country, inNew Zealand, because there are many people who do not believe in God”.
The young people of Rio de Janeiro who participated in the group of interreligious dialogue say:
Fuminori (Catholic): “WYD gives evidence of what is happening inRioamong Catholics, Methodists, Baptists and others. Non-Catholics have given their share towards this event by hosting young people in their homes and offering fraternal cordiality”.
Carlos (Presbyterian): “WYD has brought a new spirit to the city. There is music, celebration and a tone of voice that is above the institutions. These are the youth of Christ, so they bring with them a new form of religious identification that goes beyond institutional walls”.
Fernando (Muslim): “I see WYD as something very positive, because it is an opportunity for young people from different backgrounds to get together and talk about values and principles that are of great importance to everyone. This is also a meeting with God, and so it always leads to wonderful results in the renewal of one’s faith ”.
In a letter sent to all members of the Focolare Movement, Maria Voce launches an invitation. Amongst other things, she writes: “An existential outskirt is any place where man can no longer find his centre, because he can no longer find God. And all of us who, only through grace, met him, are called to be there, to immerse ourselves in this confused humanity to restore it to its centre”. While recalling a text written by Chiara Lubich, Maria Voce adds, “I believe that Chiara would not wish for less since ‘ to lose oneself in the crowd in order to fill it with the divine’ has always been visualised by her “as a great attraction of modern times”.
After the days lived inRio, a road has been opened and we have to go along this road together . We will meet again inKrakow!
Updated on July 30, 2013
LH - BF