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Saturday, September 21, 2013
On Sunday, September 22, 2013, Pope Francis will visit the Marian shrine of Our Lady of Bonaria, patron of Sardinia. The international Gen Rosso Band will provide the music for the Pope’s meeting with young people.

“I want to meet you in Cagliari!” These words were addressed to the young people by the Pope in Saint Peter’s Square last May, but all the Sardinian people are planning to be there with the Bishop of Rome.

“Our world today is especially in need of hope,” said the bishops of Sardinia in a letter written to the faithful on September 8th, “and Pope Francis comes to repeat it to us again: “don’t allow yourself be robbed of hope” (Homily of March 24, 2013).

Considering the growing number of difficulties this courageous people has to face on so many fronts, the bishops thanked the Pope who, with this pilgrimage, “takes by the hand and leads us to the feet of Mary, so that we might all discover her as a model of the Christian life and as the Mother of Hope.”

From Sardinia they write: “The young people are looking forward to his visit with enthusiasm and hope. These past several months have been a time of reflection, comfort and group work. The process has happened in stages, all highlighting the importance of service and giving oneself to others, and responding to the call.”

It will particularly highlight experiences that give hope. One example being the Primavera 83 Cooperative that will be presented to the Pope, which is a member of the Economy of Communion project and offers social assistance. In recent years, contrary to popular trends, it has seen an increase in turnover.

The Focolare community is present and active with experiences of solidarity and support also in the mining region of Sulcis, which is steeped in suffering due to the drama of unemployment.

Experiences and dialogue will alternate with moments of prayer and reflection, along with moments of joy and feasting.

The international Gen Rosso Band has been given the task of preparing and animating the Pope’s meeting with young people. During the days leading up to the event the 18 artists of the group who come from nine countries, have offered three thematic workshops: communication, choreography and song. “Two days of workshops,” they write, “which many youths have attended; an explosion of joy and celebration as we prepare for the big event,” of welcoming the Pope with their performance – young people and artists together – and providing songs, choreography and background music for the program.

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