“Christ has confidence in young people and entrusts them with the very future of his mission, ‘Go and make disciples.’” These were the first words spoken by Pope Francis upon his arrival in Brazil, speaking before civil and religious leaders where there to welcome him. In his homily at the mass celebrated with three million people on Copacabana beach, at the conclusion of WYD, the Pope appealed to young people: “Jesus is calling you to be a disciple with a mission! Today, what is the Lord saying to us? Three simple ideas: Go, do not be afraid, and serve.
Simple but engaging words, like so many other words spoken during the week in Rio de Janeiro. Now the young people
return to their own cities and countries, families, groups, associations and congregations, invited by the Pope to “make some noise,” to stir up the waters, to take into account both their peers and elders, to live out the faith in its entirety.
Donna from Lebanon: “The Pope’s language is simple and direct, language that is more adapted to today’s times.” Joaquin from Argentina, who followed WYD from afar: “’Making noise means’ being a force that pushes society. I really felt part of Francis’ equation: youths – elderly – adults. Today it’s the young people and so it’s up to me. I like this more general vision, which is the correct one.”
Daniela (Italy): “This ‘reciprocity among generations’ to which we have been so insistently invited by Pope Francis, will be an explosive force, a mutual help. What I go away with from the WYD is the desire to live my life in a more radical way, and to go out every day, day in and day out, trying to be this window that allows the future of the world to come in!”
Iggy, (New Zealand): “This WYD is push to make a revolution, to ‘win over’ other young people to a life like this. Especially because, in my country of New Zealand, there aren’t many people believing in God.”
From young people of Rio de Janeiro who too part in the ecumenical and interreligious dialogue group: Fuminori (Catholic): “The WYD is the proof of what is happening in Rio among Catholics, Methodists, Baptists and others. Non-Catholics helped out foro this World Youth Day, welcoming young people into their own homes with fraternal hospitality.”
Carlos (Presbyterian): “The WYD has brought a new spirit to the city. There’s music, celebrating and a tone of voice that is above institutions. These are young people of Christ. They bring a new form of religious identification that passes through institutional walls.”
Fernando (Muslim): “I see the WYD as something very positive, because it allows young people from different places to talk about principles and values that are very important for everyone. It was also an encounter with God, and that always brings marvelous results for the renewal of faith in everyone.”
Among the young people who have fulfilled their journey responding to the call of God, was Blessed Chiara Luce Badano. When asked if she had ever seen young people change their lives through contact with her daughter, Maria Teresa responded: “Even of those who only heard talk of her or seen her photo, they weren’t just touched by the lovely photo, but by what she was saying to them through that gaze, which expressed what was in her soul, by that fire she had within. Yesterday I was thinking to myself: ‘God certainly wishes to fulfill the plan he has in mind for each one of these young people.’ And so, let’s entrust them to her.”
Maria Voce recently wrote a letter to the members of the Focolare in which she invited everyone to go to “the existential peripheries, to any place where people no longer find the centre of their being because they cannot find God. All of us, through God’s grace alone, have met Him. We are called to remain there, immersing ourselves in this disoriented humanity to bring it back to its centre,” and she went on to say: “I think that Chiara herself wanted nothing less, because since always she saw the ‘great attraction’ of ‘being lost in the crowd, in order to influence it with the divine life” .
Following the days in Rio, there is a new road for us to follow together. See you in Krakow!
 Lubich, Chiara. Essential Writings (New York: New City Press, 2007), p. 213.