Bookmark and Share

World Youth Day Rio 2013

XXVIII Jornada Mundial da Juventude - in Brazil
12th international WYD / JMJ - Rio de Janeiro, 23-28 July 2013

“Go and make disciples of all nations!”      
Theme for 28th WYD/JMJ (cf Mt 28:19) & Benedict XVI's Message to Young People

This was Papa Francisco's first apostolic pilgrimage abroad and to his home sub-continent of South America. The JMJ Rio 2013 website is still up & there are zillions of fab photos on their Flickr page.

Patron Saints for World Youth Day Rio de Janeiro: Our Lady of Aparecida, St Sebastian, St Antônio Galvão de Santana, St Therese of Lisieux, Blessed John Paul II.
: St Rosa de Lima, St Teresa de Los Andes, St Laura Vicuña, Bl José de Anchieta, Bl Albertina Berkenbrock, Bl Chiara Luce Badano, Bl Irmã Dulce, Bl Adílio Daronch, Bl Pier Giorgio Frassati, Bl Isidore Bakanja, Bl Frederick Ozanam, St George, Saints Andrew Kim and Companions.

WYD Rio with Alex & Patrick      

Alex, who's 19 & from the UK: "When I was in Rio, the thing that blew me away was just the way that you could see the Holy Spirit was really working alongside the event."

Patrick, who's 28 & half Brit, half Swiss: "It was great to be in Rio with Pope Francis and to hear the messages he had for us. He instructed us to put Christ on, to not just stay in the institutions or the Church but to really go out and make disciples of all nations.

Paula, who's 37 & from Chile      

"I will never forget when Pope Francis visited Our Lady of Aparecida and the devotion, love and kisses he gave not only to many pilgrims gathered there to see him but also to the statue of Our Lady. The way he embraced and carried her with such love and tenderness, like a son looks after his mother, it was a great testimony of love to the Virgin Mary and it was very moving to see."

Claz, who's 30 & from London      

"Brazil was spectacular. It was unbelievably blessed … To see somebody opening their heart to Christ's message, to Christ's love, was for me absolutely life-changing. So I highly recommend that if you're interested in going to a WYD, try and find a group that goes for the whole two weeks where you've got the first week of missionary work and the second week of general JMJ activities, because how this impacts you can really change something in your life and allow God to touch your heart there as well."

Papa Francisco's words at Welcoming Ceremony for the Young People
Waterfront of Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, 25 July 2013 - in English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese & Spanish

"Dearest Young People, Good evening!
First of all, I want to thank you for the testimony you are giving to the world. I always heard it said that the people of Rio didn’t like the cold and rain, but you are showing that your faith is stronger than the cold and rain. Congratulations! You are true heroes!

In you I see the beauty of Christ’s young face and I am filled with joy. I recall the first World Youth Day on an international level. It was celebrated in 1987 in Argentina, in my home city of Buenos Aires. I still cherish the words of Blessed John Paul II to the young people on that occasion: “I have great hope in you! I hope above all that you will renew your fidelity to Jesus Christ and to his redeeming Cross” (Address to Young People, Buenos Aires, 11 April 1987).

Before I continue, I would like to call to mind the tragic accident in French Guiana, that the young people suffered on their way to this World Youth Day. There young Sophie Morinière was killed and other young people were wounded. I invite all of you to observe a moment of silence and of prayer to God, Our Father, for Sophie, for the wounded, and for their families.

This year, World Youth Day comes to Latin America for the second time. And you, young people, have responded in great number to the invitation extended by Pope Benedict XVI to celebrate this occasion. We thank him with all our hearts! We send our greeting and our enthusiastic applause to him who brought us together here today. You know that, before coming to Brazil, I spoke with him, and I asked him to accompany me in prayer on this trip. And he said to me: I will accompany all of you in prayer and I will follow you on television. So, at this moment, he is watching us. We express to him our heartfelt thanks. I am looking at the large crowd before me – there are so many of you! And you have come from every continent! In many cases you have come from afar, not only geographically, but also existentially, culturally, socially and humanly. But today you are all here, or better yet, we are all here together as one, in order to share the faith and the joy of an encounter with Christ, of being his disciples. This week Rio has become the centre of the Church, its heart both youthful and vibrant, because you have responded generously and courageously to the invitation that Christ has made to you to be with him and to become his friends.

The train of this World Youth Day has come from afar and has travelled across all of Brazil following the stages of the project entitled “Bota fé – put on faith!” Today the train has arrived at Rio de Janeiro. From Corcovado, Christ the Redeemer embraces us and blesses us. Looking out to this sea, the beach and all of you gathered here, I am reminded of the moment when Jesus called the first disciples to follow him by the shores of Lake Tiberias. Today Christ asks each of us again: Do you want to be my disciple? Do you want to be my friend? Do you want to be a witness to my Gospel? In the spirit of the Year of Faith, these questions invite us to renew our commitment as Christians. Your families and local communities have passed on to you the great gift of faith, Christ has grown in you. Today he desires to come here to confirm you in this faith, faith in the living Christ who dwells within you, but I have come as well to be confirmed by the enthusiasm of your faith! You know that in the life of a Bishop there are many problems that need to be resolved. And with these problems and difficulties, a Bishop’s faith can grow sad. How horrible is a sad Bishop! How bad is that! So that my faith might not be sad, I came here to be filled with your contagious enthusiasm!

I greet you with affection. All of you assembled here from the five continents and, through you, all young people of the world, in particular those who wanted to come to Rio de Janeiro but weren’t able to come. To those who are following us by means of radio, television and internet, to everyone I say: Welcome to this feast of faith! In several parts of the world, at this very moment, many young people have come together to share this event with us: let us all experience the joy of being united with each other in friendship and faith. And be sure of this: my heart embraces all of you with universal affection. Because what is most important today is your gathering here and the gathering together of all the young people who are following us through various forms of media. From the summit of the mountain of Corcovado, Christ the Redeemer welcomes you and embraces you in this beautiful city of Rio!

A particular greeting to the President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, the untiring Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, and to all who work with him. I thank Archbishop Orani João Tempesta, of São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro, for the warm welcome given to me – I wish to say here that the people of Rio know well how to welcome, they know how to offer a great welcome – and I thank the Archbishop for the considerable work of realizing this World Youth Day, together with his Auxiliary Bishops and with the many Dioceses of this vast country of Brazil. I would also like to express my gratitude to all the national, state and local authorities and to those who have worked to make possible this unique moment of celebration of unity, faith and fraternity. Thank you to my brother Bishops, to the priests, seminarians, consecrated persons and the lay faithful that have accompanied the young from various parts of the world on their pilgrimage to Jesus. To each and every one of you I offer an affectionate embrace in Jesus and with Jesus.

Brothers and sisters, dear friends, welcome to the XXVIII World Youth Day in this marvellous city of Rio de Janeiro!


"Dear Friends,
“It is good for us to be here!”, Peter cries out after seeing the Lord Jesus transfigured in glory. Are we able to repeat these words with him? I think the answer is yes, because here today, it is good for all of us to be together around Jesus! It is he who welcomes us and who is present in our midst here in Rio. In the Gospel we have heard God the Father say: “This is my Son, my chosen one; listen to him!” (Lk 9:35). If it is Jesus who welcomes us, we too want to welcome him and listen to his words; it is precisely through the welcome we give to Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, that the Holy Spirit transforms us, lights up our way to the future, and enables us joyfully to advance along that way with wings of hope (cf. Lumen Fidei, 7).

But what can we do? “Bota fé – put on faith”. The World Youth Day Cross has proclaimed these words throughout its pilgrimage in Brazil. “Put on faith”: what does this mean? When we prepare a plate of food and we see that it needs salt, well, we “put on” salt; when it needs oil, then you “put on” oil. “To put on”, that is, to place on top of, to pour over. And so it is in our life, dear young friends: if we want it to have real meaning and fulfilment, as you want and as you deserve, I say to each one of you, “Put on faith”, and life will take on a new flavour, life will have a compass to show you the way; “put on hope” and every one of your days will be enlightened and your horizon will no longer be dark, but luminous; “put on love”, and your life will be like a house built on rock, your journey will be joyful, because you will find many friends to journey with you. Put on faith, put on hope, put on love! All together: “put on faith”, “put on hope”, “put on love”.

But who can give us all this? In the Gospel we hear the answer: Christ. “This is my Son, my chosen one. Listen to him!” Jesus brings God to us and us to God. With him, our life is transformed and renewed, and we can see reality with new eyes, from Jesus’ standpoint, with his own eyes (cf. Lumen Fidei, 18). For this reason, I say to every one of you today: “Put on Christ!” in your life, and you will find a friend in whom you can always trust; “put on Christ” and you will see the wings of hope spreading and letting you journey with joy towards the future; “put on Christ” and your life will be full of his love; it will be a fruitful life. Because we all want to have a fruitful life, one that is life-giving for others.

Today, it would be good for all of us to ask ourselves sincerely: in whom do we place our trust? In ourselves, in material things, or in Jesus? We all have the temptation often to put ourselves at the centre, to believe that we are the axis of the universe, to believe that we alone build our lives or to think that our life can only be happy if built on possessions, money, or power. But we all know that it is not so. Certainly, possessions, money and power can give a momentary thrill, the illusion of being happy, but they end up possessing us and making us always want to have more, never satisfied. And we end up “full”, but not nourished, and it is very sad to see young people “full”, but weak. Young people must be strong, nourished by the faith and not filled with other things! “Put on Christ” in your life, place your trust in him and you will never be disappointed! You see how faith accomplishes a revolution in us, one which we can call Copernican; it removes us from the centre and puts God at the centre; faith immerses us in his love and gives us security, strength, and hope. Seemingly, nothing has changed; yet, in the depths of our being, everything is different. With God, peace, consolation, gentleness, courage, serenity and joy, which are all fruits of the Holy Spirit (cf. Gal 5:22), find a home in our heart; then our very being is transformed; our way of thinking and acting is made new, it becomes Jesus’ own, God’s own, way of thinking and acting. Dear friends, faith is revolutionary and today I ask you: are you open to entering into this revolutionary wave of faith? Only by entering into this wave will your young lives make sense and so be fruitful!

Dear young people: “Put on Christ” in your lives. In these days, Christ awaits you in his word; listen carefully to him and his presence will arouse your heart; “Put on Christ”: he awaits you in the sacrament of Penance, with his mercy he will cure all the wounds caused by sin. Do not be afraid to ask God’s forgiveness, because he never tires of forgiving us, like a father who loves us. God is pure mercy! “Put on Christ”: he is waiting for you also in the Eucharist, the sacrament of his presence and his sacrifice of love, and he is waiting for you also in the humanity of the many young people who will enrich you with their friendship, encourage you by their witness to the faith, and teach you the language of love, goodness and service.

You too, dear young people, can be joyful witnesses of his love, courageous witnesses of his Gospel, carrying to this world a ray of his light. Let yourselves be loved by Christ, he is a friend that will not disappoint.

“It is good for us to be here”, putting on Christ in our lives, putting on the faith, hope and love which he gives us. Dear friends, in this celebration we have welcomed the image of Our Lady of Aparecida. In our prayer to Mary, we ask her to teach us to follow Jesus, that she may teach us to be disciples and missionaries. Like her, may we say “Yes” to God. Let us ask that her maternal heart intercede for us, so that our hearts may be open to loving Jesus and making others love him. Dear young people, Jesus is waiting for us. Jesus is counting on us. Amen."

Papa Francesco's words at the Angelus
Archbishop’s Residence of St. Joaquin, 26 July 2013 - in Croatian, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese & Spanish

"Dear Brothers and Sisters, Dear Friends, Good day!
I give thanks to Divine Providence for bringing me here to the city of São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro. I offer heartfelt thanks to Archbishop Orani Tempesta and to each of you for your warm welcome, which demonstrates your affection for the Successor of Peter. I would be happy if my visit to this city were to renew, in each one of you, your love for Christ and his Church and your joy in being one with him, belonging to the Church and being committed to offering a living witness to the faith.

The Angelus prayer is a beautiful popular expression of the faith. It is a simple prayer, recited at three specific times during the day. It thus punctuates the rhythm of our daily activities: in the morning, at midday, and at sunset. But it is an important prayer. I encourage each of you to recite it, along with the Hail Mary. It reminds us of a luminous event which transformed history: the Incarnation, the moment when the Son of God became man in Jesus of Nazareth.

Today the Church celebrates the parents of the Virgin Mary, the grandparents of Jesus, Saints Joachim and Anne. In their home, Mary came into the world, accompanied by the extraordinary mystery of the Immaculate Conception. Mary grew up in the home of Joachim and Anne; she was surrounded by their love and faith: in their home she learned to listen to the Lord and to follow his will. Saints Joachim and Anne were part of a long chain of people who had transmitted their faith and love for God, expressed in the warmth and love of family life, down to Mary, who received the Son of God in her womb and who gave him to the world, to us. How precious is the family as the privileged place for transmitting the faith! Speaking about family life, I would like to say one thing: today, as Brazil and the Church around the world celebrate this feast of Saints Joachim and Anne, Grandparents Day is also being celebrated. How important grandparents are for family life, for passing on the human and religious heritage which is so essential for each and every society! How important it is to have intergenerational exchanges and dialogue, especially within the context of the family. The Aparecida Document says, “Children and the elderly build the future of peoples: children because they lead history forward, the elderly because they transmit the experience and wisdom of their lives” (No. 447). This relationship and this dialogue between generations is a treasure to be preserved and strengthened! In this World Youth Day, young people wish to acknowledge and honour their grandparents. They salute them with great affection. Grandparents. Let us salute grandparents. Young people salute their grandparents with great affection and they thank them for the ongoing witness of their wisdom.

And now, in this Square, in all the surrounding streets, and in those homes that are experiencing this moment of prayer with us, we feel like one big family, and we turn to Mary, that she may protect our families and make them places of faith and love in which the presence of Jesus her Son is felt.

Pope Francis' Address at the Way of the Cross with Young People
Waterfront of Copacabana, Friday 26 July 2013 - in English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese & Spanish

"Dear Young Friends,
We have come here today to accompany Jesus on his journey of sorrow and love, the Way of the Cross, which is one of the most intense moments of World Youth Day. At the end of the Holy Year of Redemption, Blessed John Paul II chose to entrust the Cross to you, young people, asking you “to carry it throughout the world as a symbol of Christ’s love for humanity, and announce to everyone that only in the death and resurrection of Christ can we find salvation and redemption” (Address to Young People, 22 April 1984). Since then, the World Youth Day Cross has travelled to every continent and through a variety of human situations. It is, as it were, almost “steeped” in the life experiences of the countless young people who have seen it and carried it. Dear brothers and sisters, no one can approach and touch the Cross of Jesus without leaving something of himself or herself there, and without bringing something of the Cross of Jesus into his or her own life. I have three questions that I hope will echo in your hearts this evening as you walk beside Jesus: What have you left on the Cross, dear young people of Brazil, during these two years that it has been crisscrossing your great country? What has the Cross of Jesus left for you, in each one of you? Finally, what does this Cross teach us?

1. According to an ancient Roman tradition, while fleeing the city during the persecutions of Nero, Saint Peter saw Jesus who was travelling in the opposite direction, that is, toward the city, and asked him in amazement: “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus’ response was: “I am going to Rome to be crucified again.” At that moment, Peter understood that he had to follow the Lord with courage, to the very end. But he also realized that he would never be alone on the journey; Jesus, who had loved him even unto death, would always be with him. Jesus, with his Cross, walks with us and takes upon himself our fears, our problems, and our sufferings, even those which are deepest and most painful. With the Cross, Jesus unites himself to the silence of the victims of violence, those who can no longer cry out, especially the innocent and the defenceless; with the Cross, he is united to families in trouble, and those who mourn the tragic loss of their children, as in the case of the 242 young victims of the fire in the City of Santa Maria at the beginning of this year. We pray for them. On the Cross, Jesus is united with every person who suffers from hunger in a world which, on the other hand, permits itself the luxury of throwing away tons of food every day; on the Cross, Jesus is united to the many mothers and fathers who suffer as they see their children become victims of drug-induced euphoria; on the Cross, Jesus is united with those who are persecuted for their religion, for their beliefs or simply for the colour of their skin; on the Cross, Jesus is united with so many young people who have lost faith in political institutions, because they see in them only selfishness and corruption; he unites himself with those young people who have lost faith in the Church, or even in God because of the counter-witness of Christians and ministers of the Gospel. How our inconsistencies make Jesus suffer! The Cross of Christ bears the suffering and the sin of mankind, including our own. Jesus accepts all this with open arms, bearing on his shoulders our crosses and saying to us: “Have courage! You do not carry your cross alone! I carry it with you. I have overcome death and I have come to give you hope, to give you life” (cf. Jn 3:16).

2. Now we can answer the second question: What has the Cross given to those who have gazed upon it and to those who have touched it? What has the Cross left in each one of us? You see, it gives us a treasure that no one else can give: the certainty of the faithful love which God has for us. A love so great that it enters into our sin and forgives it, enters into our suffering and gives us the strength to bear it. It is a love which enters into death to conquer it and to save us. The Cross of Christ contains all the love of God; there we find his immeasurable mercy. This is a love in which we can place all our trust, in which we can believe. Dear young people, let us entrust ourselves to Jesus, let us give ourselves over to him (cf. Lumen Fidei, 16), because he never disappoints anyone! Only in Christ crucified and risen can we find salvation and redemption. With him, evil, suffering, and death do not have the last word, because he gives us hope and life: he has transformed the Cross from being an instrument of hate, defeat and death to being a sign of love, victory, triumph and life.

The first name given to Brazil was “The Land of the Holy Cross”. The Cross of Christ was planted five centuries ago not only on the shores of this country, but also in the history, the hearts and the lives of the people of Brazil and elsewhere. The suffering Christ is keenly felt here, as one of us who shares our journey even to the end. There is no cross, big or small, in our life, which the Lord does not share with us.

3. But the Cross of Christ invites us also to allow ourselves to be smitten by his love, teaching us always to look upon others with mercy and tenderness, especially those who suffer, who are in need of help, who need a word or a concrete action; the Cross invites us to step outside ourselves to meet them and to extend a hand to them. How many times have we seen them in the Way of the Cross, how many times have they accompanied Jesus on the way to Calvary: Pilate, Simon of Cyrene, Mary, the women… Today I ask you: which of them do you want to be? Do you want to be like Pilate, who did not have the courage to go against the tide to save Jesus’ life, and instead washed his hands? Tell me: are you one of those who wash their hands, who feign ignorance and look the other way? Or are you like Simon of Cyrene, who helped Jesus to carry that heavy wood, or like Mary and the other women, who were not afraid to accompany Jesus all the way to the end, with love and tenderness? And you, who do you want to be? Like Pilate? Like Simon? Like Mary? Jesus is looking at you now and is asking you: do you want to help me carry the Cross? Brothers and sisters, with all the strength of your youth, how will you respond to him?

Dear friends, let us bring to Christ’s Cross our joys, our sufferings and our failures. There we will find a Heart that is open to us and understands us, forgives us, loves us and calls us to bear this love in our lives, to love each person, each brother and sister, with the same love.

Papa Francisco's Address to Young People at the Prayer Vigil
Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, Saturday 27 July 2013 - in English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese & Spanish

"Dearest Young People,
Seeing you all present here today, I think of the story of Saint Francis of Assisi. In front of the crucifix he heard the voice of Jesus saying to him: “Francis, go, rebuild my house”. The young Francis responded readily and generously to the Lord’s call to rebuild his house. But which house? Slowly but surely, Francis came to realize that it was not a question of repairing a stone building, but about doing his part for the life of the Church. It was a matter of being at the service of the Church, loving her and working to make the countenance of Christ shine ever more brightly in her.

Today too, as always, the Lord needs you, young people, for his Church. My friends, the Lord needs you! Today too, he is calling each of you to follow him in his Church and to be missionaries. The Lord is calling you today! Not the masses, but you, and you, and you, each one of you. Listen to what he is saying to you in your heart. I think that we can learn something from what has taken place in these days, of how we had to cancel, due to bad weather, this Vigil in the Campus Fidei, at Guaratiba. Is the Lord not telling us, perhaps, that we ourselves are the true field of faith, the true Campus Fidei, and not some geographical location? Yes, it is true – each one of us, each one of you, me, everyone! To be missionary disciples means to know that we are the Field of Faith of God! Starting with the name of the place where we are, Campus Fidei, the field of faith, I have thought of three images that can help us understand better what it means to be a disciple and a missionary. First, a field is a place for sowing seeds; second, a field is a training ground; and third, a field is a construction site.

1. First: A field is a place for sowing seeds. We all know the parable where Jesus speaks of a sower who went out to sow seeds in the field; some seed fell on the path, some on rocky ground, some among thorns, and could not grow; other seed fell on good soil and brought forth much fruit (cf Mt 13, 1-9). Jesus himself explains the meaning of the parable: the seed is the word of God sown in our hearts (cf Mt 13, 18-23). Today .. every day, but today in a particular way, Jesus is sowing the seed. When we accept the word of God, then we are the Field of Faith! Please, let Christ and his word enter your life; let the seed of the Word of God enter, let it blossom, and let it grow. God will take care of everything, but let him work in you and bring about this growth.

Jesus tells us that the seed which fell on the path or on the rocky ground or among the thorns bore no fruit. I believe that we can ask ourselves honestly: What kind of ground are we? What kind of ground do we want to be? Maybe sometimes we are like the path: we hear the Lord’s word but it changes nothing in our lives because we let ourselves be numbed by all the superficial voices competing for our attention. I ask you, but do not respond immediately; everyone respond in his own heart: am I a young person who is numb? Or perhaps we are like the rocky ground: we receive Jesus with enthusiasm, but we falter and, faced with difficulties, we don’t have the courage to swim against the tide. Everyone of us respond in his heart: am I courageous or am I a coward? Or maybe we are like the thorny ground: negativity, negative feelings choke the Lord’s word in us (cf Mt 13, 18-22). Do I have the habit of playing both sides in my heart: do I make a good impression for God or for the devil? Do I want to receive the seed from Jesus and at the same time water the thorns and the weeds that grow in my heart? But today I am sure that the seed is able to fall on good soil. We are listening to these witnesses, of how the seed has fallen on good soil. “No, Father, I am not good soil; I am a disaster, and I am full of stones, of thorns, of everything.” Yes, maybe this is so on the surface, but free a little piece, a small piece of good soil, and let the seed fall there and watch how it grows. I know that you want to be good soil, true Christians, authentic Christians, not part-time Christians: “starchy”, aloof and Christian in “appearance only”. I know that you don’t want to be duped by a false freedom, always at the beck and call of momentary fashions and fads. I know that you are aiming high, at long-lasting decisions which are meaningful. Is that true, or am I wrong? Am I right? Good; if it is true, let’s do this: in silence, let us all look into our hearts and each one of us tell Jesus that we want to receive the seed of his Word. Say to him: Jesus, look upon the stones, the thorns, and the weeds that I have, but look also upon this small piece of ground that I offer to you so that the seed may enter my heart. In silence, let us allow the seed of Jesus to enter our hearts. Remember this moment. Everyone knows the seed that has been received. Allow it to grow, and God will nurture it.

2. The field. Beyond being a place of sowing, the field is a training ground. Jesus asks us to follow him for life, he asks us to be his disciples, to “play on his team”. Most of you love sports! Here in Brazil, as in other countries, football is a national passion. Right? Now, what do players do when they are asked to join a team? They have to train, and to train a lot! The same is true of our lives as the Lord’s disciples. St Paul, describing Christians, tells us: “athletes deny themselves all sorts of things; they do this to win a crown of leaves that withers, but we a crown that is imperishable” (1 Cor 9, 25). Jesus offers us something bigger than the World Cup! Something bigger than the World Cup! Jesus offers us the possibility of a fruitful life, a life of happiness; he also offers us a future with him, an endless future, in eternal life. That is what Jesus offers us. But he asks us to pay admission, and the cost of admission is that we train ourselves “to get in shape”, so that we can face every situation in life undaunted, bearing witness to our faith, by talking with him in prayer . Father, are you asking us all to pray? I ask you all … but reply in the silence of your heart, not aloud: do I pray? Do I speak with Jesus, or am I frightened of silence? Do I allow the Holy Spirit to speak in my heart? Do I ask Jesus: what do you want me to do, what do you want from my life? This is training. Ask Jesus, speak to Jesus, and if you make a mistake in your life, if you should fall, if you should do something wrong, don’t be afraid. Jesus, look at what I have done, what must I now do? Speak continually with Jesus, in the good times and in the bad, when you do right, and when you do wrong. Do not fear him! This is prayer. And through this, you train yourselves in dialogue with Jesus, in this path of being missionary disciples. By the sacraments, which make his life grow within us and conform us to Christ. By loving one another, learning to listen, to understand, to forgive, to be accepting and to help others, everybody, with no one excluded or ostracized. Dear young people, be true “athletes of Christ”!

3. And third: A field is a construction site. We are seeing this happen before us with our own eyes: young people have engaged and given themselves to the work of building up the Church. When our heart is good soil which receives the word of God, when “we build up a sweat” in trying to live as Christians, we experience something tremendous: we are never alone, we are part of a family of brothers and sisters, all journeying on the same path: we are part of the Church. These young people were not alone, but together they created a path and built up the Church; together they have done what St Francis did, built up and repaired the Church. I ask you: do you want to build up the Church? [Yes …] Are you encouraged to do so? [Yes …] And tomorrow, will you have forgotten the “yes” you have spoken today? [No …] That makes me happy! We are part of the Church, indeed, we are building up the Church and we are making history. Young people, please: don’t put yourselves at the tail end of history. Be active members! Go on the offensive! Play down the field, build a better world, a world of brothers and sisters, a world of justice, of love, of peace, of fraternity, of solidarity. Play always on the offensive! Saint Peter tells us that we are living stones, which form a spiritual edifice (cf 1 Pet 2, 5). As we look at this platform, we see that it is in the shape of a church, built up with living stones. In the Church of Jesus, we ourselves are the living stones. Jesus is asking us to build up his Church; each one of us is a living stone, a small part of the edifice; when the rain comes, if this piece is missing, there are leaks and water comes in. Don’t build a little chapel which holds only a small group of persons. Jesus asks us to make his living Church so large that it can hold all of humanity, that it can be a home for everyone! To me, to you, to each of us he says: “Go and make disciples of all nations”. Tonight, let us answer him: Yes, Lord, I too want to be a living stone; together we want to build up the Church of Jesus! I want to go forth and build up the Church of Christ! Are you eager to make this happen again? I want to go out and build up the Church of Christ, let us say this together … [the young people repeat]. You must always remember that you have said this together.

Your young hearts want to build a better world. I have been closely following the news reports of the many young people who throughout the world have taken to the streets in order to express their desire for a more just and fraternal society. Young people in the streets. It is the young who want to be the protagonists of change. Please, don’t leave it to others to be the protagonists of change. You are the ones who hold the future! You … Through you the future is fulfilled in the world. I ask you also to be protagonists of this transformation. Continue to overcome apathy, offering a Christian response to the social and political anxieties, which are arising in various parts of the world. I ask you to be builders of the world, to work for a better world. Dear young people, please, don’t be observers of life, but get involved. Jesus did not remain an observer, but he immersed himself. Don’t be observers, but immerse yourself in the reality of life, as Jesus did.

But one question remains: Where do we start? Whom do we ask to begin this work? Some people once asked Mother Teresa of Calcutta what needed to change in the Church, and which wall should they start with? They asked her, where is the starting point? And she replied, you and I are the starting point! This woman showed determination! She knew where to start. And today I make her words my own and I say to you: shall we begin? Where? With you and me! Each one of you, once again in silence, ask yourself: if I must begin with myself, where exactly do I start? Each one of you, open your heart, so that Jesus may tell you where to start.

Dear friends, never forget that you are the field of faith! You are Christ’s athletes! You are called to build a more beautiful Church and a better world. Let us lift our gaze to Our Lady. Mary helps us to follow Jesus, she gives us the example by her own “yes” to God: “I am the servant of the Lord; let it be done to me as you say” (Lk 1, 38). All together, let us join Mary in saying to God: let it be done to me as you say. Amen!

Papa Francisco's Homily at Mass on XXVIII World Youth Day
Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, Sunday 28 July 2013 - in English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese & Spanish

"Dear Brothers and Sisters, Dear Young People,
“Go and make disciples of all nations.” With these words, Jesus is speaking to each one of us, saying: “It was wonderful to take part in World Youth Day, to live the faith together with young people from the four corners of the earth, but now you must go, now you must pass on this experience to others.” Jesus is calling you to be a disciple with a mission! Today, in the light of the word of God that we have heard, what is the Lord saying to us? What is the Lord saying to us? Three simple ideas: Go, do not be afraid, and serve.

1. Go. During these days here in Rio, you have been able to enjoy the wonderful experience of meeting Jesus, meeting him together with others, and you have sensed the joy of faith. But the experience of this encounter must not remain locked up in your life or in the small group of your parish, your movement, or your community. That would be like withholding oxygen from a flame that was burning strongly. Faith is a flame that grows stronger the more it is shared and passed on, so that everyone may know, love and confess Jesus Christ, the Lord of life and history (cf Rom 10, 9).

Careful, though! Jesus did not say: “Go, if you would like to, if you have the time”, but he said: “Go and make disciples of all nations.” Sharing the experience of faith, bearing witness to the faith, proclaiming the Gospel: this is a command that the Lord entrusts to the whole Church, and that includes you; but it is a command that is born not from a desire for domination, from the desire for power, but from the force of love, from the fact that Jesus first came into our midst and did not give us just a part of himself, but he gave us the whole of himself, he gave his life in order to save us and to show us the love and mercy of God. Jesus does not treat us as slaves, but as people who are free , as friends, as brothers and sisters; and he not only sends us, he accompanies us, he is always beside us in our mission of love.

Where does Jesus send us? There are no borders, no limits: he sends us to everyone. The Gospel is for everyone, not just for some. It is not only for those who seem closer to us, more receptive, more welcoming. It is for everyone. Do not be afraid to go and bring Christ into every area of life, to the fringes of society, even to those who seem farthest away, most indifferent. The Lord seeks all, he wants everyone to feel the warmth of his mercy and his love.

In particular, I would like Christ’s command: “Go” to resonate in you young people from the Church in Latin America, engaged in the continental mission promoted by the Bishops. Brazil, Latin America, the whole world needs Christ! St Paul says: “Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel!” (1 Cor 9, 16). This continent has received the proclamation of the Gospel which has marked its history and borne much fruit. Now this proclamation is entrusted also to you, that it may resound with fresh power. The Church needs you, your enthusiasm, your creativity and the joy that is so characteristic of you. A great Apostle of Brazil, Blessed José de Anchieta, set off on mission when he was only 19 years old. Do you know what the best tool is for evangelizing the young? Another young person. This is the path for all of you to follow!

2. Do not be afraid. Some people might think: “I have no particular preparation, how can I go and proclaim the Gospel?” My dear friend, your fear is not so very different from that of Jeremiah, as we have just heard in the reading, when he was called by God to be a prophet. “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth”. God says the same thing to you as he said to Jeremiah: “Be not afraid ... for I am with you to deliver you” (Jer 1, 7-8). He is with us!

“Do not be afraid!” When we go to proclaim Christ, it is he himself who goes before us and guides us. When he sent his disciples on mission, he promised: “I am with you always” (Mt 28, 20). And this is also true for us! Jesus never leaves anyone on their own! He always accompanies us.

And then, Jesus did not say: “One of you go”, but “All of you go”: we are sent together. Dear young people, be aware of the companionship of the whole Church and also the communion of the saints on this mission. When we face challenges together, then we are strong, we discover resources we did not know we had. Jesus did not call the Apostles to live in isolation, he called them to form a group, a community. I would like to address you, dear priests concelebrating with me at this Eucharist: you have come to accompany your young people, and this is wonderful, to share this experience of faith with them! Certainly he has rejuvenated all of you. The young make everyone feel young. But this experience is only a stage on the journey. Please, continue to accompany them with generosity and joy, help them to become actively engaged in the Church; never let them feel alone! And here I wish to thank from the heart the youth ministry teams from the movements and new communities that are accompanying the young people in their experience of being Church, in such a creative and bold way. Go forth and do not be afraid!

3. The final word: serve. The opening words of the psalm that we proclaimed are: “Sing to the Lord a new song” (Psalm 95, 1). What is this new song? It does not consist of words, it is not a melody, it is the song of your life, it is allowing our life to be identified with that of Jesus, it is sharing his sentiments, his thoughts, his actions. And the life of Jesus is a life for others. The life of Jesus is a life for others. It is a life of service.

In our second Reading today, St Paul says: “I have made myself a slave to all, that I might win the more” (1 Cor 9, 19). In order to proclaim Jesus, Paul made himself “a slave to all”. Evangelizing means bearing personal witness to the love of God, it is overcoming our selfishness, it is serving by bending down to wash the feet of our brethren, as Jesus did.

Three ideas: Go, do not be afraid, and serve. Go, do not be afraid, and serve. If you follow these three ideas, you will experience that the one who evangelizes is evangelized, the one who transmits the joy of faith receives more joy. Dear young people, as you return to your homes, do not be afraid to be generous with Christ, to bear witness to his Gospel. In the first Reading, when God sends the prophet Jeremiah, he gives him the power to “pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant” (1, 10). It is the same for you. Bringing the Gospel is bringing God’s power to pluck up and break down evil and violence, to destroy and overthrow the barriers of selfishness, intolerance and hatred, so as to build a new world. Dear young people, Jesus Christ is counting on you! The Church is counting on you! The Pope is counting on you! May Mary, Mother of Jesus and our Mother, always accompany you with her tenderness: “Go and make disciples of all nations”. Amen.

Pope Francis's words at the Angelus on World Youth Day 2014
Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, Sunday 28 July 2013 - in English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese & Spanish

"Dear Brothers and Sisters,
At the end of this Mass, in which we have raised up to God our song of praise and thanksgiving for every grace received during this World Youth Day, I would like once more to thank Archbishop Orani Tempesta and Cardinal Ry?ko for their kind words. I thank you too, dear young friends, for all the joy you have given me in these days. Thank you! I carry each one of you in my heart! Now let us turn our gaze to our heavenly Mother, the Virgin Mary. During these days, Jesus has insistently and repeatedly invited you to be his missionary disciples; you have listened to the voice of the Good Shepherd, calling you by name, and you have recognized the voice calling you (cf. Jn 10:4). Could it be that in this voice, resounding in your heart, you have felt the tenderness of God’s love? Have you experienced the beauty of following Christ together with others, in the Church? Have you understood more deeply that the Gospel is the answer to the desire for an even fuller life? (cf. Jn 10:10). Is this true?

The Immaculate Virgin intercedes for us in heaven as a good mother who watches over her children. May Mary teach us by her life what it means to be a missionary disciple. Every time we pray the Angelus, we recall the event that changed the history of mankind for ever. When the Angel Gabriel proclaimed to Mary that she would become the Mother of Jesus the Saviour, even without understanding the full significance of that call, she trusted God and replied: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38). But what did she do immediately afterwards? On receiving the grace of being the Mother of the Incarnate Word, she did not keep that gift to herself; with a sense of responsibility, she set off from her home and went in haste to help her kinswoman Elizabeth, who was in need of assistance (cf. Lk 1:38-39); she carried out an act of love, of charity, and of practical service, bringing Jesus who was in her womb. And she did all this in haste!

There, my dear friends, we have our model. She who received the most precious gift from God, as her immediate response sets off to be of service and to bring Jesus. Let us ask Our Lady to help us too to give Christ’s joy to our families, our companions, our friends, to everyone. Never be afraid to be generous with Christ. It is worth it! Go out and set off with courage and generosity, so that every man and every woman may meet the Lord.

Dear young friends, we have an appointment for the next World Youth Day in 2016 in Kraków, Poland. Through Our Lady’s maternal intercession, let us ask for the light of the Holy Spirit upon the journey that will lead us to this next stage in our joyful celebration of faith and the love of Christ.
Now let us pray together ... [Angelus]

Pope Francis' Homily at Mass in St Sebastian's Cathedral
with Bishops, Priests, Religious & Seminarians, 27 July 2013 - in English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese & Spanish

"Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Seeing this Cathedral full of Bishops, priests, seminarians, and men and women religious from the whole world, I think of the Psalmist’s words from today’s Mass: “Let the peoples praise you, O God” (Ps 66). We are indeed here to praise the Lord, and we do so reaffirming our desire to be his instruments so that not only some peoples may praise God, but all. With the same parrhesia of Paul and Barnabas, we want to proclaim the Gospel to our young people, so that they may encounter Christ and build a more fraternal world. I wish to reflect with you on three aspects of our vocation: we are called by God, called to proclaim the Gospel, and called to promote the culture of encounter.

1. Called by God – I believe that it is important to rekindle constantly an awareness of our divine vocation, which we often take for granted in the midst of our many daily responsibilities: as Jesus says, “You did not choose me, but I chose you” (Jn 15:16). This means returning to the source of our calling. For this reason, a Bishop, a priest, a consecrated person, a seminarian cannot be “forgetful”: it would mean losing the vital link to that first moment of our journey. Ask for the grace, ask the Virgin for the grace, she who had a good memory; ask for the grace to preserve the memory of this first call. We were called by God and we were called to be with Jesus (cf. Mk 3:14), united with him. In reality, this living, this abiding in Christ marks all that we are and all that we do. It is precisely this “life in Christ” that ensures our apostolate is effective, that our service is fruitful: “I appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit be authentic ” (cf. Jn 15:16). It is not creativity, however pastoral it may be, or meetings or planning that ensure our fruitfulness, even if these are greatly helpful. But what assures our fruitfulness is our being faithful to Jesus, who says insistently: “Abide in me and I in you” (Jn 15:4). And we know well what that means: to contemplate him, to worship him, to embrace him, in our daily encounter with him in the Eucharist, in our life of prayer, in our moments of adoration; it means to recognize him present and to embrace him in those most in need. “Being with” Christ does not mean isolating ourselves from others. Rather, it is a “being with” in order to go forth and encounter others. Here I wish to recall some words of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta. She said: “We must be very proud of our vocation because it gives us the opportunity to serve Christ in the poor. It is in the favelas, ... in the villas miseria, that one must go to seek and to serve Christ. We must go to them as the priest presents himself at the altar, with joy” (Mother’s Instructions, I, p. 80). Jesus is the Good Shepherd; he is our true treasure. Please, let us not erase Jesus from our lives! Let us ground our hearts ever more in him (cf. Lk 12:34).

2. Called to proclaim the Gospel – Many of you, dear Bishops and priests, if not all, have accompanied your young people to World Youth Day. They too have heard the mandate of Jesus: “Go and make disciples of all nations” (cf. Mt 28:19). It is our responsibility as Pastors to help kindle within their hearts the desire to be missionary disciples of Jesus. Certainly, this invitation could cause many to feel somewhat afraid, thinking that to be missionaries requires leaving their own homes and countries, family and friends. God asks us to be missionaries. But where – where he himself places us, in our own countries or wherever he chosen for us. Let us help the young. Let us have an attentive ear to listen to their dreams – they need to be heard – to listen to their successes, to pay attention to their difficulties. You have to sit down and listen to the same libretto, but accompanied by diverse music, with different characteristics. Having the patience to listen! I ask this of you with all my heart! In the confessional, in spiritual direction, in accompanying. Let us find ways to spend time with them. Planting seeds is demanding and very tiring, very tiring! It is much more rewarding to enjoy the harvest! How cunning! Reaping is more enjoyable for us! But Jesus asks us to sow with care and responsibility.

Let us spare no effort in the formation of our young people! Saint Paul uses an expression that he embodied in his own life, when he addressed the Christian community: “My little children, with whom I am again in travail until Christ be formed in you” (Gal 4:19). Let us embody this also in our own ministry! To help our young people to discover the courage and joy of faith, the joy of being loved personally by God, is very difficult. But when young people understand it, when young people experience it through the anointing of the Holy Spirit, this “being personally loved by God” accompanies them for the rest of their lives. They rediscover the joy that God gave his Son Jesus for our salvation. Let us form them in mission, to go out, to go forth, to be itinerants who communicate the faith. Jesus did this with his own disciples: he did not keep them under his wing like a hen with her chicks. He sent them out! We cannot keep ourselves shut up in parishes, in our communities, in our parish or diocesan institutions, when so many people are waiting for the Gospel! To go out as ones sent. It is not enough simply to open the door in welcome because they come, but we must go out through that door to seek and meet the people! Let us urge our young people to go forth. Of course, they will make mistakes, but let us not be afraid! The Apostles made mistakes before us. Let us urge them to go forth. Let us think resolutely about pastoral needs, beginning on the outskirts, with those who are farthest away, with those who do not usually go to church. They are the VIPs who are invited. Go and search for them at the crossroads.

3. To be called by Jesus, to be called to evangelize, and third: to be Called to promote the culture of encounter – In many places, generally speaking, due to the economic humanism that has been imposed in the world, the culture of exclusion, of rejection, is spreading. There is no place for the elderly or for the unwanted child; there is no time for that poor person in the street. At times, it seems that for some people, human relations are regulated by two modern “dogmas”: efficiency and pragmatism. Dear Bishops, priests, religious and you, seminarians who are preparing for ministry: have the courage to go against the tide of this culture. Be courageous! Remember this, which helps me a great deal and on which I meditate frequently: take the First Book of Maccabees, and recall how many of the people wanted to adapt to the culture of the time: “No …! Leave us alone! Let us eat of everything, like the others do… Fine, yes to the Law, but not every part of it …”. And they ended up abandoning the faith and placing themselves in the current of that culture. Have the courage to go against the tide of this culture of efficiency, this culture of waste. Encountering and welcoming everyone, solidarity – a word that is being hidden by this culture, as if it were a bad word – solidarity and fraternity: these are what make our society truly human.

Be servants of communion and of the culture of encounter! I would like you to be almost obsessed about this. Be so without being presumptuous, imposing “our truths”, but rather be guided by the humble yet joyful certainty of those who have been found, touched and transformed by the Truth who is Christ, ever to be proclaimed (cf. Lk 24:13-35).

Dear brothers and sisters, God calls us, by name and surname, each one of us, to proclaim the Gospel and to promote the culture of encounter with joy. The Virgin Mary is our exemplar. In her life she was “a model of that motherly love with which all who join in the Church’s apostolic mission for the regeneration of humanity should be animated” (Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium, 65). Let us ask her to teach us to encounter one another in Jesus every day. And when we pretend not to notice because we have many things to do and the tabernacle is abandoned, may she take us by the hand. Let us ask this of her! Watch over me, Mother, when I am disoriented, and lead me by the hand. May you spur us on to meet our many brothers and sisters who are on the outskirts, who are hungry for God but have no one to proclaim him. May you not force us out of our homes, but encourage us to go out so that we may be disciples of the Lord. May you grant all of us this grace.

Papa Francisco's words to the Volunteers at XXVIII WYD / JMJ
Pavillon 5, Rio Center, Sunday 28 July 2013 - in English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese & Spanish

"Dear Volunteers, Good evening!
I could not return to Rome without first thanking all of you in a personal and affectionate way for the work and dedication with which you have accompanied, helped, and served the thousands of young pilgrims, and for the countless little ways by which you have made this World Youth Day an unforgettable experience of faith. With your smiles, your acts of kindness and your willingness to serve, you have shown that “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).
The service you have given during these days brings to mind the mission of Saint John the Baptist, who prepared the way for Jesus. Every one of you, each in his or her own way, was a means enabling thousands of young people to “prepare the way” to meet Jesus. And this is the most beautiful service we can give as missionary disciples. To prepare the way so that all people may know, meet and love the Lord. To you who in these days responded with such readiness and generosity to the call to be volunteers for World Youth Day, I say: May you always be generous with God and with others: one loses nothing thereby, but gains great enrichment in life.
God calls you to make definitive choices, and he has a plan for each of you: to discover that plan and to respond to your vocation is to move toward personal fulfilment. God calls each of us to be holy, to live his life, but he has a particular path for each one of us. Some are called to holiness through family life in the sacrament of Marriage. Today, there are those who say that marriage is out of fashion. Is it out of fashion? In a culture of relativism and the ephemeral, many preach the importance of “enjoying” the moment. They say that it is not worth making a life-long commitment, making a definitive decision, “for ever”, because we do not know what tomorrow will bring. I ask you, instead, to be revolutionaries, I ask you to swim against the tide; yes, I am asking you to rebel against this culture that sees everything as temporary and that ultimately believes you are incapable of responsibility, that believes you are incapable of true love. I have confidence in you and I pray for you. Have the courage “to swim against the tide”. And also have the courage to be happy.
The Lord calls some to be priests, to give themselves to him more fully, so as to love all people with the heart of the Good Shepherd. Some he calls to the service of others in the religious life: devoting themselves in monasteries to praying for the good of the world, and in various areas of the apostolate, giving of themselves for the sake of all, especially those most in need. I will never forget that day, 21 September – I was 17 years old – when, after stopping in the Church of San José de Flores to go to confession, I first heard God calling me. Do not be afraid of what God asks of you! It is worth saying “yes” to God. In him we find joy!
Dear young people, some of you may not yet know what you will do with your lives. Ask the Lord, and he will show you the way. The young Samuel kept hearing the voice of the Lord who was calling him, but he did not understand or know what to say, yet with the help of the priest Eli, in the end he answered: Speak, Lord, for I am listening (cf. 1 Sam 3:1-10). You too can ask the Lord: What do you want me to do? What path am I to follow?
Dear friends, I thank you once more for all you have done during these days. I thank your parish groups, and the movements and new communities who have placed their members at the service of WYD. Thank you! Do not forget what you have experienced here! You can always count on my prayers, and I know I can count on yours. One last thing: pray for me.

Papa Francisco's Reflection on WYD / JMJ Rio
in Arabic, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese & Spanish

"Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!
We are resuming the series of our catecheses after the August holidays, but today I would like to talk to you about my journey to Brazil for the World Youth Day. More than a month has passed but I think it important to go back to this event, and the distance in time enables us to get a better grasp of its meaning.

First of all I want to thank the Lord because it is he who directed everything with his Providence. Since I come from the Americas it was a beautiful gift! And for this I also thank Our Lady of Aparecida, who accompanied this whole journey. I made the pilgrimage to Brazil’s important national shrine and its venerable image was ever present on the dais of WYD. I was very glad about this because Our Lady of Aparecida is not only extremely important to the history of the Church in Brazil but also to the whole of Latin America. In Aparecida we Bishops of Latin America and of the Caribbean had celebrated a General Assembly with Pope Benedict: it was a highly significant step on the pastoral journey in this part of the world, where most of the Catholic Church’s faithful live.

Although I have already done so, I wish to renew my thanks to all the civil and ecclesiastical authorities, to the volunteers, to the security forces. to the parish communities of Rio de Janeiro and of the other cities of Brazil where the pilgrims were welcomed with magnanimous brotherhood. In fact the hospitality of the Brazilian families and parishes was one of the most beautiful features of this WYD. Good people these Brazilians! Good people! They truly have a great heart. Going on pilgrimage always entails hardships but being welcomed helps one to get the better of them and indeed turns them into opportunities for acquaintance and friendship. Bonds are forged that subsequently endure, especially in prayer. In this way too the Church develops throughout the world as a network of true friendships in Jesus Christ, a net which as it catches you sets you free. Hence, hospitality: and this is the first word that results from the experience of the visit to Brazil. Hospitality!

Another word that sums it up can be celebration. The WYD is always a festive celebration because a real celebration is when a city is filled with young people who walk through the streets holding the flags of the whole world greeting each other, embracing each other. It is a sign for all, not only for believers. However, then there is the greater celebration which is the feast of faith, when together we praise the Lord, sing, listen to the word of God, remain in the silence of worship: all this is the culmination of the WYD, it is the true purpose of this important pilgrimage and is lived in a special way in the great Prayer Vigil on the Saturday evening and in the closing Mass. So: this is the great celebration, the celebration of faith and of brotherhood which begins in this world and will never come to an end. However it is only possible with the Lord! Without God’s love there is no true celebration for man!

Hospitality, celebration — but a third element cannot be omitted: mission. This WYD was marked by a missionary theme: “Go... and make disciples of all nations”. We heard Jesus’ words: it is the mission that he gives to everyone! This is the mandate the Risen Christ gave to his disciples: “Go”, go out of yourselves, go out of every form of closure to bring the light and love of the Gospel to everyone, to the very ends of existence! And it was precisely this mandate of Jesus that I entrusted to the young people who filled the beach of Copacabana as far as the eye could see. A symbolic place, the shore of the ocean, reminiscent of the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Yes, for today too the Lord repeats: “Go...”, and he adds: “I am with you, always”. This is fundamental! Only with Christ can we bear the Gospel. Without him we can do nothing — he himself said so (cf. Jn 15:5). Whereas with him, united with him we can do so much. And a boy, a girl who in the eyes of the world counts for little or nothing, in God’s eyes is an apostle of the Kingdom, is a hope for God! I would like to ask all young people forcefully, but I don’t know if there are any young people in the Square today. Are there any young people in the Square? There are a few! I would like to ask all of you forcefully: do you want to be a hope for God? Do you yourselves want to be a hope? [Youth: “yes!”]. Do you want to be a hope for the Church? [youth: “yes!”]. A young heart that welcomes Christ’s love becomes hope for others, it is an immense force! But you, boys and girls, all young people, you must transform us and yourselves into hope! Open the doors to a new world of hope. This is your task. Do you want to be hope for us all? [youth: “yes!”] Let us think of the meaning of that multitude of young people who encountered the Risen Christ in Rio de Janeiro and who bring his love to everyday life, who live it and communicate it. They are not going to end up in the newspapers because they don’t perpetrate acts of violence, they don’t give rise to scandal and so they don’t make news. Yet if they stay united to Jesus they build his Kingdom, they build brotherhood, sharing, works of mercy, they are a powerful force to make the world more just and more beautiful, to transform it! I would now like to ask the young men and women who are here in the Square: do you have the courage to take up this challenge? [youth: “yes!”]. Do you have the courage or not? I did not hear very well... [youth: “yes!”] Are you ready to be this force of love and mercy that is brave enough to want to transform the world? [youth: “yes”!]

Dear friends, the experience of WYD reminds us of history’s truly great piece of news: the Good News. Even if it is not splashed across the newspapers and does not appear on television we are loved by God who is our Father and who sent his Son Jesus to make himself close to each one of us and to save us. He sent Jesus to save us, to forgive all of us, for he always forgives: he always pardons because he is good and merciful. Remember: hospitality, celebration and mission. Three words: Hospitality, celebration and mission. May these words not only be a memory of what happened in Rio but may they also be the soul of our life and of the life of our communities.

Pope Francis - General Audience, Wednesday 4 September 2013, Saint Peter's Square

Visit JMJ Rio's Flickr page / Vatican youtube channel to relive the events with Papa Francisco.
If you were there (or at another WYD/JMJ), please will you share something of your experience for the World Youth Days podcast - just contact Ruth to learn more :o)