Pope Francis says "...the Advent season...a journey made up of many small gestures of peace, every day: gestures of welcome, encounter, understanding, closeness, forgiveness..." to Education Meeting FULL TEXT

Paul VI Hall
Monday, November 28, 2022
Dear boys and girls, dear teachers, good morning and welcome!
I am glad that you have responded with enthusiasm to the invitation of the National Network of Schools for Peace. Thanks for coming! And thanks to all those who organized this meeting, especially to Doctor Lotti.
I congratulate you students and your educators on the rich program of activities and training you have undertaken, which will culminate with the Perugia-Assisi March in May next year, where you will have the opportunity to present the results of your work and the your proposals.
Assisi has now become a world center for the promotion of peace, thanks to the charismatic figure of that carefree and rebellious young man from Assisi named Francesco, who left his family and wealth to follow the Lord and marry Our Lady of Poverty. That young dreamer is still today a source of inspiration for what concerns peace, brotherhood, love for the poor, ecology, the economy. Over the centuries, St. Francis has fascinated many people, just as he has fascinated me too who, as Pope, wanted to take his name after him.
Your educational program "For peace, with care" wants to respond to the call for a Global Educational Pact, which I addressed three years ago to all those who work in the field of education, so that "they become promoters of the values ​​of care, peace, justice, goodness, beauty, acceptance of the other and brotherhood" (Video message of 15 October 2020).

And I am glad to see that not only Catholic schools, universities and organizations are responding to this appeal, but also public, secular and other religious institutions.
For there to be peace, as your motto says so well, we need to "take care". We often talk about peace when we feel directly threatened, as in the case of a possible nuclear attack or a war being fought on our doorstep. Just as we are interested in the rights of migrants when we have some relatives or friends who have emigrated. In reality, peace always concerns us, always! As always, it concerns the other, brother and sister, and we must take care of him and her.
A model of caring par excellence is that Samaritan of the Gospel, who rescued a stranger he found wounded along the way. The Samaritan did not know whether the unfortunate one was a good person or a scoundrel, whether he was rich or poor, educated or ignorant, a Jew, a Samaritan like him or a foreigner; he didn't know if that misfortune "had asked for it" or not. The Gospel says: "he saw him and had compassion" (Lk 10:33). He saw it and had compassion. Others, before him, had also seen that man, but they had gone straight on their way. The Samaritan didn't ask himself many questions, he followed the movement of compassion.
Even in our time we can find valid testimonies of people or institutions who work for peace and take care of those in need. Let us think, for example, of those who have received the Nobel Peace Prize, but also of the many unknown people who silently work for this cause.
Today I would like to recall two figures of witnesses. The first is that of St. John XXIII. He was called the "Good Pope", and also the "Pope of Peace", because in those difficult beginnings of the 1960s marked by strong tensions - the construction of the Berlin Wall, the Cuba crisis, the Cold War and the nuclear threat - published the famous and prophetic encyclical Pacem in terris. Next year it will be 60 years old, and it is very current! Pope John addressed all men of good will, asking for the peaceful solution of all wars through dialogue and disarmament. It was an appeal that received great attention in the world, far beyond the Catholic community, because it had grasped a need of all humanity, which is still today. This is why I invite you to read and study Pacem in terris, and to follow this path to defend and spread peace.
A few months after the publication of that Encyclical, another prophet of our time, Martin Luther King, Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1964, gave the historic speech in which he said: "I have a dream". In an American context strongly marked by racial discrimination, he had made everyone dream with the idea of ​​a world of justice, freedom and equality. He said: "I have a dream: that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the dignity of their person".
And you, boys, girls: what is your dream for today's and tomorrow's world? I encourage you to dream big, like John XXIII and Martin Luther King. And for this reason, I invite you to participate in World Youth Day next year, which we will celebrate in Lisbon. Those of you who can come will meet many other boys and girls from all over the world, all united by the dream of fraternity based on faith in the God who is Peace, the Father of Jesus Christ and our Father. And if you can't physically come, I still invite you to follow and participate, because now, with today's means, this is possible.
I wish you all a good journey in the Advent season that we began yesterday: a journey made up of many small gestures of peace, every day: gestures of welcome, encounter, understanding, closeness, forgiveness, service... Gestures made with the heart, as you walk towards Bethlehem, towards Jesus who is the King of peace, indeed, who himself is peace.
The poet Borges ends, or rather does not end one of his poems with these words: "I want to thank ... for Whitman and Francis of Assisi who already wrote this poem, for the fact that this poem is inexhaustible and is confused with the sum of creatures and will never arrive at the last verse and it changes according to men”. May you too, boys and girls, welcome the poet's invitation to continue his poetry, each adding what he wants to thank for, what he wants. May each of you become a "poet of peace"! Become poets of peace: do you understand? Peace poets.
Thanks for coming! I bless you all from my heart. And please pray for me. Thank you.
Source: Vatican.va - Screenshot