· Upon his arrival in Rio de Janeiro Pope Francis captures the heart of the Brazilian people and turns his thoughts to the young ·
What will become of us if we don’t look after our children, the apple of our eye?
When Pope Francis reached Rio de Janeiro, on Monday afternoon, 22 July, and knocked “delicately” on “door of the heart” of Brazil asking to enter, they, the Brazilians, had already opened it to him. And perhaps that slight detour just as his motorcade entered the city — in an attempt to change lanes his car got stuck in the middle of the crowd — was a chance so early in the visit to see the empathy that exists between Francis and the people. Perhaps it will live on as the image of the Pope’s first Apostolic Journey outside Italy. And so — with the Pontiff encircled by the warm affection of the crowd, to whom, clearly happy and enthusiastic, he smiled and stretched out his hands — began the 28th World Youth Day, 24 hours before the Mass that will officially inaugurate it. And Pope Francis, who in two tweets from @Pontifex described the meeting in Rio as “a time to deepen our friendship in Jesus Christ” and gave thanks for the “magnificent welcome in Rio”, immediately turned his attention to young people, calling them the “windows” through which the future of humanity enters the world. He was speaking in the presence of the President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, at the official Welcome Ceremony; but it is clear that the image of “window” also evoked a challenge. “Our generation will show that it can rise to the promise found in each young person”, he said, “when we know how to give them space”. This means: creating “the material and spiritual conditions for their full development”; giving “them a solid basis on which to build their lives”; guaranteeing “their safety and their education to be everything they can be”; passing “on to them lasting values that make life worth living”; giving “them a transcendent horizon for their thirst for authentic happiness and their creativity for the good”; giving “them the legacy of a world worthy of human life”; and awakening “in them their greatest potential as builders of their own destiny, sharing responsibility for the future of everyone”. Only in this way, can “we anticipate today the future that enters the world through the window of the young”.
St. Peter’s Square
Jan. 22, 2018
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