Over 70,000 young Italians on pilgrimage with an evening prayer vigil in Rome on Saturday encounter Pope Francis. This is a week-long pilgrimage was organized by the National Service for Youth Ministry of the Italian Bishops’ Conference in view of the Synod for Young People in October and World Youth Day in January.
Below is the FULL TEXT Release of Vatican.va on the Meeting with the 70,000 Italian Youth and Pope Francis in Rome- The Original Text was Italian - this is an Internet Translation
The meeting opens with a greeting from Elena di Modena on behalf of young Italians. At the end of the greeting, the gift that the young Italians will give to him as a sign of gratitude for this meeting will be brought to the Pope.
It will be made by two young people: Letizia, 23 and Lucamatteo, 21. They express two aspects of the same research: the one concerning the construction of one's personal identity and one's own dreams.
Dear Pope Francis, I'm Letizia, I'm 23 years old and I'm studying at university. I would like to say a word about our dreams and how we see the future. When I had to make the important choice of what to do at the end of the upper V, I was afraid to trust what I really dreamed of wanting to become, because it would have meant completely discovering the eyes of others and of myself.
I had decided to entrust myself to the opinion of some adults whose admiration of the profession and the choices. I turned to the professor that I esteemed more, the prof. of Art, the one that teaches the most exciting things for me. I told him I wanted to follow his path, become like him. And I felt I answered that now it was not as it used to be, that times had changed, that there was a crisis, that I would not find work, and that I would rather have chosen a field of study that better respond to market needs . 'Choose economy', he told me. I felt a great disappointment; I felt betrayed in the dream that I had confided to him, when instead I was looking for an encouragement from the figure I wanted to imitate. In the end, I chose my path, I chose to follow my passion and I study Art.
Instead, one day, in an oratory where I am an educator, one of my girls told me to trust me, to estimate my choices. He told me that I was almost a model for her and that she wanted to do what I did.
It was there, at that moment that I consciously decided that I would take all the commitment to be an educator: I would not have been that traitorous and disappointing adult, but I would have given time and energy, with all the burdens that it could entail, because a person was entrusted to me.
Holy Father, when we look at our future we are used to imagine it dyed with gray, dark, threatening colors. To tell you the truth to me it seems to see a white slide, where there is nothing ...
Sometimes I tried to draw it, my future. But in the end I see something that does not satisfy me. I try to explain myself: I think we are the ones who design it, but we often start from a great project, a kind of great fresco to which, in spite of ourselves, we take away some details, we take away some pieces. The result is that projects and dreams, for fear of others and their judgment, end up being smaller than what they were leaving.
And above all I end up creating something that I do not always like ...
Answer of the Holy Father
Good evening. I tell you the truth: I knew the questions and I made a draft answer, but also - hearing them - I would add something spontaneously. Because the way they asked the questions goes beyond what is written.
You, Letizia, you said a very important word, which is "the dream". And you both said another very important one: "fear". These two words will enlighten us a little.
Dreams are important. They keep our eyes wide, help us to embrace the horizon, to cultivate hope in every daily action. And the dreams of young people are the most important of all. A young man who can not dream is a young anesthetized; he will not be able to understand life, the force of life. Dreams wake you up, bring you in there, are the brightest stars, those that indicate a different path for humanity. Behold, you have in your heart these shining stars that are your dreams: they are your responsibility and your treasure. Let them be your future too! And this is the work you must do: transforming today's dreams into the reality of the future, and this requires courage, as we have both felt. They said to the girl. "No, no: study economics because you will die of hunger with this", and to the boy who "yes, the project is good but we take away this piece and this and this ...", and in the end there is nothing left. No! Bring forward with courage, courage in the face of resistance, difficulties, everything that makes our dreams go out.
Of course, dreams must be made to grow, to be purified, tested and shared. But have you ever wondered where your dreams come from? My dreams, where do they come from? Are they born watching television? Listening to a friend? Daydreaming? Are they big dreams or small, miserable dreams that are content with as little as possible? Dreams of comfort, dreams of well-being:
: "No, no, I'm fine like that, I'm not going any further". But these dreams will make you die, in life! They will make your life not a big thing! Dreams of tranquility, dreams that sleep young people and that make a young man a sofa. It is sad to see the young people on the sofa, watching how life passes in front of them. Young people - I've said it before - without dreams, who retire at 20, 22: but what a bad thing, a retired young man! Instead, the young man who dreams big things goes on, he does not retire early. I got it? Thus, young people. And the Bible tells us that great dreams are those capable of being fruitful: great dreams are those that give fruitfulness, are capable of sowing peace, of sowing fraternity, of sowing joy, like today; behold, these are great dreams because they think of everyone with US. Once, a priest asked me a question: "Tell me, what is the opposite of 'I'?". And I, naive, slipped into the trap and said: "The opposite of me is 'you'" - "No, Father: this is the seed of war. The contrary of 'I' is 'us' ". If I say: the opposite is you, I make war; if I say that the opposite of egoism is 'we', I make peace, I make the community, I carry forward the dreams of friendship, of peace. Think: true dreams are the dreams of 'us'. Great dreams include, involve, are extroverted, share, generate new life. And the great dreams, in order to remain such, need an inexhaustible source of hope, of an Infinite which blows in and dilates them. Great dreams need God in order not to become mirages or delirium of omnipotence. You can dream great things, but alone it is dangerous, because you can fall into the delirium of omnipotence. But with God, do not be afraid: go forward. Dream big. And then, the word you two used: 'fear'. You know? Dreams of young people are a little scary to adults. They are scary because when a young man dreams he goes far. Perhaps because they stopped dreaming and risking. So many times life causes adults to stop dreaming, stop risking; perhaps because your dreams undermine their life choices, dreams that lead you to criticize, to criticize them. But do not let yourselves steal your dreams. There is a boy here in Italy, twenty years old, twenty-two, who began to dream and dream big. And his father, a great businessman, tried to convince him and he: "No, I want to dream. I dream of this that I feel inside ". And in the end, he's gone, to dream. And dad followed him. And that young man took refuge in the bishopric, stripped off his clothes and gave them to his father: "Let me go on my way". This young man, an Italian of the 13th century, was called Francesco and changed the history of Italy. Francesco risked to dream big; he did not know the frontiers and dreaming he finished his life. We think: he was a young man like us. But how he dreamed! They said he was crazy because he dreamed so. And he has done so well and continues to do so. Young people are a little afraid of adults because adults have stopped dreaming, they have stopped risking, they have settled well. But, as I told you, you do not let yourselves steal your dreams. "And how I do, Father, so as not to make me steal my dreams?". Look for good teachers able to help you understand them and make them concrete in gradualness and serenity. In your turn, be good teachers, teachers of hope and trust in the new generations that are pressing you. "But how can I become a teacher?". Yes, a young man who is capable of dreaming becomes a teacher with testimony. Because it is a testimony that shakes, which moves the hearts and shows the ideals that current life covers. Do not stop dreaming and be masters in the dream. The dream is of great strength. "Father, and where can I buy the tablets that will make me dream?". No, not those! Those do not make you dream: those who put their hearts to sleep! Those burn you neurons. Those ruin your life. "And where can I buy dreams?". Do not buy, dreams. Dreams are a gift, a gift from God, a gift that God sows in your hearts. Dreams are given to us free of charge, but because we also give them free to others. Offer your dreams: no one, taking them, will make you impoverish. Offer them to others for free. Dear young people: "no" to fear. What that professor told you! He was afraid? Oh yes, maybe he was afraid; but he had arranged everything, it was quiet. But why did not he want a girl to go his way? He scared you. And what did he tell you? "Study economy: you will earn more". This is a trap, the trap of having, settling into a well-being and not being a pilgrim on the road to our dreams. Boys and girls, be you pilgrims on the road of your dreams. Risk on that road: do not be afraid. make your dreams come true, because life is not a lottery: life comes true. And we all have the ability to do it. The holy Pope John XXIII said: "I never met a pessimist who did something good" (interview with Sergio Zavoli to Mgr Capovilla in Jesus, 6, 2000). We must learn this, because it will help us in life. Pessimism throws you down, it does not make you do anything. And fear makes you pessimistic. No pessimism. Risk, dream and forward.