Pope Francis with 80,000 Youth says may Mary "Help you to answer your "Here I am!" to the Lord: “I am here, Lord: what should I do? I am here to do good..."
80,000 Italian teenage pilgrims attended a special event with Pope Francis. A large group held a prayer vigil with Pope Francis on Easter Monday evening under the banner: “Follow Me.” The prayer vigil was organized by the Italian Bishops’ Conference (CEI), and saw several teenagers share their experience of trials and faith and receive the Pope’s encouragement and blessing. Some heard a girl named Alice tell about her suffering at the death of her grandmother and how she eventually understood how to turn her pain into a gift for others. Another girl named Sofia spoke about her loneliness during the Covid-19 lockdowns, and how a new friend taught her to view life through different eyes full of hope and joy. (Vatican News exerpt)
ADDRESS OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
TO THE PILGRIMAGE OF ITALIAN ADOLESCENTS
St. Peter's Square Easter
Monday, April 18, 2022
Dearest boys and girls, welcome!
Thanks for being here! This square has long been waiting to be filled with your presence, your faces, and your enthusiasm.
Two years ago, on March 27 , I came here alone to present to the Lord the plea of the world affected by the pandemic. Perhaps that evening you too were in your homes in front of the television praying together with your families. Two years have passed with the square empty and the square has happened as it happens to us when we fast: we want to eat and, when we go to eat after fasting, we eat more; this is why it was filled up more: even the square suffered from fasting and is now full of you! Today, all of you are together, coming from Italy, in the embrace of this square and in the joy of the Easter that we have just celebrated.
Jesus conquered the darkness of death. Unfortunately, the clouds that darken our time are still dense. In addition to the pandemic, Europe is experiencing a terrible war, while injustices and violence continue in many regions of the Earth that destroy man and the planet. Often it is your peers who pay the highest price: not only is their existence compromised and made insecure, but their dreams for the future are trampled on. Many brothers and sisters are still waiting for the light of Easter.
The Gospel story we have heard begins in the very dark of the night. Peter and the others take the boats and go fishing - and they don't catch anything. What a disappointment! When we put so much energy into making our dreams come true, when we invest so many things, like the apostles, and nothing turns out ... But something surprising happens: at daybreak, a man appears on the shore, who was Jesus. He was waiting for them. And Jesus says to them: "There, on the right there are the fish". And the miracle of many fish occurs: the nets are filled with fish.
This can help us think about some moments of our life. Sometimes life puts us to the test, makes us touch our frailties, makes us feel naked, helpless, alone. How many times during this period have you felt alone, far from your friends? How many times have you been afraid? Don't be ashamed to say: "I'm afraid of the dark!" We are all afraid of the dark. Fears must be said, fears must be expressed in order to be able to drive them away. Remember this: fears must be told. To who? To dad, mom, friend, friend, person who can help you. They must be brought to light. And when the fears, which are in darkness, go into the light, the truth bursts out. Do not be discouraged: if you are afraid, put it to the light and it will do you good!
Darkness puts us in crisis; but the problem is how I manage this crisis: if I keep it only for myself, for my heart, and I don't talk about it with anyone, it doesn't work. In crises you have to talk, talk with the friend who can help me, with dad, mom, grandfather, grandmother, with the person who can help me. Crises must be illuminated to overcome them.
Dear boys and girls, you don't have the experience of grownups, but you do have something that we grownups have sometimes lost. For example: over the years, we adults need glasses because we have lost our sight or sometimes we become a little deaf, we have lost our hearing ... Or, many times, the habit of life makes us lose "the nose" ; you have "the nose". And don't miss this, please! You have a nose for reality, and it is a great thing. The nose that John had: as soon as he saw that gentleman there who said: "Throw the nets to the right", the nose told him: "It is the Lord!". He was the youngest of the apostles. You have the nose: do not lose it! The nose to say "this is true - this is not true - this is not good"; the nose to find the Lord, the nose for truth. I wish you to have John's nose, but also the courage of Peter. Peter was a bit "special": he has denied Jesus three times, but as soon as John, the youngest, says: "It is the Lord!", He throws himself into the water to find Jesus.
Do not be ashamed of your outbursts of generosity: the nose will lead you to generosity. Throw yourself into life. “Eh, Father, but I don't know how to swim, I'm afraid of life!”: You have someone who accompanies you, you are looking for someone to accompany you. But don't be afraid of life, please! Be afraid of death, of the death of the soul, of the death of the future, of the closure of the heart: of this be afraid. But of life, no: life is beautiful, life is to live it and to give it to others, life is to share it with others, not to close it in on itself.
I would not like to go into this much, I would just like to say that it is important that you go forward. The fears? Illuminate them, tell them. Discouragement? Win it with courage, with someone to give you a hand. And the nose for life: don't lose it, because it's a beautiful thing.
And, in times of difficulty, children call their mother. We too call our mom, Maria. She - be careful - was almost your age when she accepted her extraordinary vocation to be the mother of Jesus. Beautiful: your age, more or less ... Help you to answer your "Here I am!" to the Lord: “I am here, Lord: what should I do? I am here to do good, to grow well, to help others with my nose ”. May Our Lady, the mother who was almost your age when she received the angel's announcement and became pregnant with her, may she teach you to say: “Here I am!”. And not to be afraid. Courage, and on!
After the blessing:
Risen Jesus be the strength of your life: go in peace and be happy, all of you: in peace and with joy!