Pope Francis Tells 1000 Altar Servers "After serving Jesus at Mass, he sends you to serve him in the people you meet during the day..." FULL TEXT + Video

Paul VI Hall
Friday, August 26, 2022
Addressing over 1,000 altar servers from France who are on pilgrimage in Rome, Pope Francis says they are a model for many young people of their age, and reminds them that their mission does not end at Mass. (Vatican News )
Dear altar servers of France, good morning and welcome!
I am happy to welcome you on the occasion of your pilgrimage. I thank Archbishop De Moulins-Beaufort for the words he addressed to me in your name and in the name of the Bishops present.
You took a break in your holidays to take the pilgrim's staff! You set out together with others, to follow in the footsteps of the many witnesses of Christ who, over the centuries, have come to Rome to regenerate themselves in faith. You have come in large numbers, from various parishes and regions of France, to experience this privileged moment of meeting, sharing, prayer and relaxation. I hope that you will be able to return home strengthened by this beautiful experience of faith, in the heart of the Church.
The theme of your pilgrimage - "Come, serve and go!" - is very beautiful and expressive.
“Come”: the Lord is calling you. He calls you to meet him, and in a very special way in that important event which is Sunday Mass. Dear young man, I know that, perhaps, at Mass you find yourself just your age, and that this seems sad to you, or that at times you feel a little uncomfortable in the midst of older people. Surely you ask yourself questions about the Church, you ask yourself how to restore the taste of God to young people of your age so that they can join you. But I ask you, personally: how do you see your place in the Church? Do you really feel like a member of this great family of God? Do you contribute to his testimony?
You have chosen to be altar servers, and I would like to thank you from my heart for the efforts, and sometimes the renunciations, that you accept to dedicate yourself to this commitment as altar servers, while many other friends of yours prefer to sleep on Sunday morning, or to play sports ... how much you can be a model, a point of reference for many young people of your age. And you can really be proud of what you do. Do not be ashamed to serve the Altar, even if you are alone, even if you are growing up. It is an honor to serve Jesus when he gives his life for us in the Eucharist. Through your participation in the liturgy, ensuring your service, you offer everyone a concrete witness of the Gospel. Your attitude during the celebrations is already an apostolate for those who see you. If you carry out your service at the altar with joy, dignity and with an attitude of prayer, you will certainly arouse in other young people a desire to commit themselves to the Church as well.
But serving the Mass requires a follow-up: "Serve and go!". You know that Jesus is present in the people of the brothers we meet. After serving Jesus at Mass, he sends you to serve him in the people you meet during the day, especially if they are poor and disadvantaged, because he is particularly united with them.
Perhaps you have friends who live in difficult neighborhoods or who face great suffering, even addictions; you know young people who are uprooted, migrants or refugees. I urge you to welcome them generously, to get them out of their loneliness and to make friends with them.
Many young people your age need someone to tell them that Jesus knows them, that he loves them, that he forgives them, that he shares their problems, that he looks at them with tenderness without judging them. With your courage, your enthusiasm, your spontaneity, you can reach them. I invite you to be close to each other. I insist on this: closeness among you, closeness to the members of your families, closeness to other young people. Avoid falling into the temptation of withdrawing into yourself, of selfishness, of locking yourself up in your world, in small groups, in virtual social networks. You better prefer real friendships, not virtual ones, which are illusory and imprison you and separate you from reality.
Another equally important thing is your relationship with the elderly, with your grandparents. How is your gaze towards the elderly? For those lucky enough to still have their grandfather or grandmother, it is precious to take advantage of their presence, their advice, their experiences. Often it is they who accompany you to Mass and speak to you of God. The elderly are a necessary resource for your human maturity. Today, the risk is of no longer knowing where you come from, of losing your roots, of losing your bearings. Tell me, how do you plan to build your future, plan your life, if you don't have strong roots that help you stay upright and attached to the earth? It is easy to "fly away" when one has nowhere to cling to, where to fix oneself (cf. Apostolic Exhortation Postsin. Christus vivit, 179). Search for your roots, learn to know and love your culture, your history, to enter into a dialogue in truth with those who are different from you, strong in who you are and respectful of what others are.
At your age, it is time to lay solid foundations for a life that grows in Christ, to build wonderful friendships, to set goals to achieve. At your age, it's the time when you dream big, big, you want to conquer the world. I will not stop telling the young people I meet and today I say it to you, to you, to each of you, especially to you young minister: "Never give up on your dreams, never bury a vocation for good" (ibid., 272) . And it is precisely service at the Altar that could arouse in you a desire to respond to the call of the Lord in religious or priestly life. Why not? Do not be afraid! Feed this call into your heart and, one day, have the courage to talk about it with someone you trust. How beautiful it is to see young people commit themselves generously to the Kingdom of God, at the service of the Church! It is a really good adventure.
Finally, I strongly urge you to entrust yourselves to the Lord through the Virgin Mary. Like any girl, she had her dreams, her plans. But at God's call, she made herself a servant with her generous, fruitful, joyful "yes". On your roads, in your moments of difficulty and loneliness, do not forget to entrust yourself to her.
Dear guys, thank you for coming! I take you in prayer. I cordially bless each of you and your loved ones, as well as your Bishops, your priests, your animators present here and all the young people of your dioceses.
And please don't forget to pray for me. Good walk!
Source: Vatican.va