After celebrating Holy Mass on the Solemnity of Christ the King in Asti Cathedral, Pope Francis led the Angelus prayer, renewed his invitation to participate in World Youth Day celebrations and called for prayers for peace, in particular for martyred Ukraine. The following is a translation of the Holy Father’s reflection.
At the end of this Celebration, I would like to express my gratitude to the Diocese, to the Province, and to the City of Asti. Thank you for the warm welcome you have given me! I am also very grateful to the civil and religious authorities for the preparations that made this awaited visit possible. I would like to say to all of you: a la fame propri piasi’ encuntreve! (dialect for I was pleased to meet you) and ch’a staga bin! (dialect for I wish you all the best)!
I would like to extend a special thought and send my love to young people. Thank you for having come out in such numbers! As of last year, local Churches observe World Youth Day specifically on the Solemnity of Christ the King. The theme, the same as the one for the next World Youth Day [to be held] in Lisbon, to which I renew my invitation to participate, is “Mary arose and went with haste” (Lk 1:39). Our Lady did this when she was young, and she tells us that the secret to remaining young is found precisely in those two verbs, to arise and to go. I like to think of Our Lady who went in haste. She really went quickly; she went in haste. And many times, I pray to Our Lady: “Hey, hurry up and resolve this problem!” To arise and to go — not to stay still thinking about ourselves, wasting our lives and chasing after comforts or the latest fads, but to aim for the heights, to set out on a journey, leaving behind our own fears to lend a hand to someone in need. And today, we need young people who are truly “transgressive”, non-conformist, who are not slaves to their mobile phones, but who change the world like Mary, bringing Jesus to others, taking care of others, building fraternal communities with others and fulfilling dreams of peace!
Our time is experiencing a famine of peace: we are living a famine of peace. Let us think of the many places in the world that are scourged by war, in particular of war-torn Ukraine. Let us roll up our sleeves and continue to pray for peace! Let us also pray for the families of the victims of the serious fire that broke out recently in a refugee camp in Gaza, in Palestine, where several children also died. May the Lord welcome into heaven those who lost their lives and comfort those people who have suffered years of conflict. And let us now invoke the Queen of Peace, Our Lady, to whom this beautiful Cathedral is dedicated. To her, let us entrust our families, the sick, and each one of us, with the worries and good intentions we bear in our hearts.