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“I send you on mission!”

· Pope Francis to 70,000 altar servers ·

“Become seekers of peace, commit yourself to the less fortunate who have no voice in this world, protest against injustice and discord, be peacemakers”.

This is the “missionary mandate” that Pope Francis entrusted to 70,000 altar servers gathered in Saint Peter’s Square on Tuesday afternoon, 31 July, for their 12th international pilgrimage. “I send you on mission”, he said at the end of the celebration of vespers which concluded the long afternoon of celebration and prayer: over three and a half hours of song, dances and witnessing which culminated in the meeting with the Pope.

Braving the heat, the young people arrived to Rome from 19 countries to participate in the gathering promoted by the Coetus Internationalis Ministrantium (CIM). Some were already on the streets surrounding Bernini’s colonnade from the early hours of the morning, with their distinctive colourful backpacks, flags and scarves. At 4:30 pm, as the square was beginning to fill up, a young German girl and a young Hungarian boy led preparations for the audience.

Greetings, interviews and prayer were intertwined with hymns from the Peace Seeker group, made up of musicians from Germany and Austria and a chorus of young people from various countries. The Holy Father arrived at around 5:50 pm. He rode on his uncovered white jeep along Saint Peter’s Square and part of Via della Conciliazione before reaching his spot on the parvis.

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St. Peter’s Square

Aug. 21, 2018

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