Follow Christ on the path of forgiveness, not vengeance, pope says

IMAGE: CNS/L’Osservatore Romano

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — To follow a path toward Christ, one
must follow the good path of forgiveness, peace and solidarity, and avoid
following the evil path of vengeance, war and selfishness, Pope Francis told
hundreds of Italian children.

members of Catholic Action’s children’s section, parish-based groups of young
people from 4 to 14 years of age, spent the year on various projects that aided
migrants in the Italian diocese of Agrigento.

the pope’s arrival, the youth sang “Happy Birthday” and presented him
with a cake for his 79th birthday Dec. 17 during his traditional pre-Christmas
audience with them.

pope blessed and thanked the youth for their work with migrants, saying that
they welcome in an exemplary way “so many
brothers and sisters who arrive full of hope, but are also wounded and in
desperate need of so much, including peace and bread.”

“You can offer a special contribution to this
initiative with your enthusiasm and prayer, which I advise you to accompany
with a small sacrifice, to share their essentials with others who do not have
them,” he said.

from his prepared speech, the pope asked the youth what would they do if they
had two candies and their friend had none. “I’ll give him one,” a
child responded.

if you have one candy and your friend has none, what do you do?” he asked.
“Half!” another child exclaimed.

half. Very good! Go forward this way,” the pope said.

thanking the leaders of Catholic Action’s Italian branch, Pope Francis led the
group in praying the “Hail Mary” and thanked them for their
“commitment and dedication to Christian education.”

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