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Pope Francis tells youth in Rome to be true to themselves

Pope Francis meets with some 80 boys and girls of a Rome parish who are preparing to celebrate the Jubilee Year and chats with them about their life of faith and prayer.

By Linda Bordoni

Pope Francis visited a parish in Rome’s periphery on Friday afternoon for a meeting with a group of boys and girls who are preparing to celebrate the 2025 Jubilee.

The Holy See Press Office released a statement by the Dicastery for Evangelization on Friday afternoon that said the meeting took place within the “School of Prayer” initiative, that prepares young Catholics for the Jubilee Year.

The Holy Father, who was accompanied by the Pro-Prefect of the Dicastery for Evangelization, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, left the Vatican at about 4 o’clock in the afternoon and travelled to the Parish of Saint Bernadette Soubirous in an eastern city suburb.,

The visit was part of a “Year of Prayer” initiative, and during the encounter, the Pope answered questions put to him by the young people about their life of faith and prayer.

This meeting comes on the heels of his April 11 meeting with 200 children preparing for First Communion at the Rome parish of Saint John Mary Vianney.

The Pope arrives at the Parish

The Pope arrives at the Parish

A surprise visit

The statement revealed that the Pope’s arrival at the parish community was a “surprise” and that he was warmly welcomed by the young people gathered for the weekly meeting.

The group included catechists, youth group leaders, and scouts, who interacted with him and posed several questions.

Tiziano, for example, asked the Pope how to discern one’s vocation.

“Each one of us must ask this question,” Pope Francis responded, “because the Lord has a plan for each of us. Everyone must try to understand what the Lord wants from us and ask Him.” Thus, he then shared his experience as a young man who had started working when he entered the seminary: “Ask the Lord in prayer: what do you want from me?”

Some of the girls and boys present for the meeting

Some of the girls and boys present for the meeting

Friendship

The Pope also emphasized the importance for young people to never walk alone and to cultivate friendship.

“Sometimes we can get lost in the labyrinths of life. The main thing to get out of a dark moment is not to walk alone, because alone you lose direction. It’s important to talk about your situation,” Pope Francis said.

Get moving!

To a young man who confessed to not believing in God, the Pope highlighted the importance of undertaking a journey: “No one is condemned if they don’t believe. It’s important to be on the move. If I see a young person who doesn’t move, who just sits there in life, who doesn’t like to move, it’s sad. But if I see a young person who falls into apathy and then moves on, hats off to him. Get moving for an ideal!”

In conversation with the Pope

In conversation with the Pope

Giving life is a message of hope

In a conversation with a young married couple, he expressed concern about the declining birthrate in Italy and the importance of giving life, which, he said, “is always a message of great Hope.”

Finally, he said that for the Church to be credible, “it must strip itself of all worldliness.” “The values of the Church,” he added, “are those of the Gospel, not those of a society that calls itself Catholic.”

Before concluding, Pope Francis thanked everyone present and gave each of them a copy of the Bull of Indiction of the Jubilee, in the new edition with the introduction by Pro-Prefect Monsignor Rino Fisichella.

Be authentic!

“Thank you for your testimonies, I am very happy with your authenticity, keep it up, be true to yourselves, always seeking the path of life,” the Pope concluded: “One piece of advice: take risks for life, with high ideals.”

Group photo

Group photo

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