On Monday, 6 November, Pope Francis met with 7,500 children from around the world at the Paul vi Hall during a meeting themed: “Let’s Learn from Boys and Girls”. Addressing those present he emphasised the importance of learning from children, as they continually offer valuable lessons to the world. The following is a translation of the Pope’s words.
Dear Boys and Girls,
Good afternoon and welcome!
Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all of you for coming, to your chaperones, and to the organizers of this meeting: to Cardinal José Tolentino and the Dicastery for Culture and Education, to Fr Enzo Fortunato, who hails from Naples, to your families, and to all the people and associations who have offered their contribution, to Aldo who worked hard and to everyone here. Thanks to everyone.
The theme of our meeting is “Let Us Learn from Boys and Girls”. But what can we learn from you? Can we learn something? What do you think? Can we learn from you or not? [laughter and shouts] I can’t hear you… [they shout back: “yes”] It is true. We need to learn from you. I am always happy when I meet you because you teach me something new every time. For example, you remind me how beautiful life is in its simplicity, and you also teach me how beautiful it is to be together! These are two great gifts from God: being together and in simplicity.
And we want to tell the world so let’s do it now together, and repeat after me. “Life is a gift!” All together: [they repeat] I can’t hear you well… [they repeat louder] It is true: life is a gift, a beautiful gift and we are all brothers and sisters. Are we enemies? [they reply: “no”] I can’t hear you…. Are we enemies? [they shout louder: “no”] Are we brothers and sisters? [they reply: “yes”]. Well done, well done. You have answered well.
In fact, you have come here from all over the world, just like many brothers and sisters who meet one another in a big house. It’s the big house that Jesus has given us: the Church is the family home and the Lord always receives us with an embrace, with a caress.
I wish I could welcome all of you one by one. But there are many of you, so I say to all you children, that you are wonderful, your age is wonderful, and I tell you to go forward. And you are really in the Church. Let us think of the children who are suffering at this time — let us not forget this — from climate disasters, from hunger, from war and from poverty. Do you know that there are bad people that do bad things, that make war, destroy … Do you want to do bad things? [they reply: “no”] Do you want to help? [they reply: “yes”] I like this, I like this.
Dear children, your presence here is a sign that goes straight to the hearts of all us adults. And we, the grown-ups have to look at your spontaneity and listen to your message.
You have prepared some questions. To avoid being boring with my speech, let’s hear the questions and what you have prepared for me. And many thanks, thank you dear children. And remember: life is an amazing gift. Shall we say it together? Life is an amazing gift. One more time: life is a wonderful gift. God loves us so much and it’s nice to be together, communicate, share and give. Always do this and Our Lady will help you. Make sure you always pray to our Lady! Do you pray to Mary? [they reply: “yes”] Do you pray to Our Lady? [they reply louder: “yes”] Always. Never stop. And pray for me too. Thank you.