Youthful face of mercy can change the world, pope tells young people

IMAGE: CNS/Paul Haring

By Junno Arocho Esteves

Poland (CNS) — The youthful face of God’s mercy can change the hearts of people
who have lost hope, Pope Francis said.

young person who is touched by Christ is “capable of truly great things,”
the pope told thousands of young men and women July 28 at the welcoming
ceremony of World Youth Day in Krakow.

the church — and I would add, the world — looks to you and wants to learn
from you, to be reassured that the father’s mercy has an ever-youthful face and
constantly invites us to be part of his kingdom,” the pope said.

at Blonia Park in his popemobile, Pope Francis was enveloped in a sea of red,
yellow and blue as pilgrims donned brightly colored parkas to shield them from
the rain.

his seat on the main stage, the pope was welcomed by Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz
of Krakow and six young men and women representing Europe, Asia, North America,
South America, Africa and Australia.

presenting the pope with a custom pilgrim’s book bag, a group of young
performers from around the world entertained the pope and the crowd by dancing
traditional dances. The dances ranged from a young Indian woman swaying to the
tune of sitar to a couple masterfully dancing to tango music.

the Gospel reading, the pope thanked the youth for their presence, greeting
them warmly saying, “At last, we are together.”

them to cheer for St. John Paul II, the pope thanked his predecessor for
initiating World Youth Day.

heaven, he is with us, and he sees all of you: So many young people from such a
variety of nations, cultures and languages, but with one goal: that of
rejoicing that Jesus is in our midst,” he said.

pope noted the festive atmosphere of World Youth Day and praised the “enthusiasm,
dedication, zeal and energy” of the young men and women who make God’s
love palpable to the world.

while extolling the virtues of a young, merciful heart, the pope also lamented
young people “who seem to have opted for ‘early retirement.'”

worries me to see young people who have ‘thrown in the towel’ before the game
has even begun, who are defeated even before they begin to play, who walk
around glumly as if life has no meaning,” he said.

down, he added, “young people like this are bored and are boring.”

celebration in Poland, the pope continued, offers an opportunity for young men
and women to help each other and “not be robbed of the best of ourselves.”

Francis encouraged the youths to look to Jesus to receive a “true passion
for life” and to “give the very best of ourselves.”

you looking for empty thrills in life, or do you want to feel a power that can
give you a lasting sense of life and fulfillment? Which one do you want: empty
thrills or the power of grace? To find fulfillment, to gain new strength, there
is a way. It cannot be sold, it cannot be bought, it is not a thing, nor an
object. It is a person: His name is Jesus Christ,” the pope said.

also invited them to dedicate their time in Poland to listening to Jesus and to
each other in order to live a full life and to embark “on the adventure of

we are, Lord! Send us to share your merciful love,” Pope Francis prayed. “We
want to affirm that our lives are fulfilled when they are shaped by mercy, for
that is the better part and it will never be taken from us.”

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