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Pope Francis in the eyes of young people



(Vatican Radio) “I think, not just in Brazil, but for all of us, what [Pope Francis] spoke about [on Palm Sunday] is really important. He said ‘my grandmother used to say burial shrouds don’t have pockets’. That’s a very good point, because our generation, the youth, we are growing up aiming to be rich, aiming to be successful. We have to find something else and I think the Pope can bring us this message” says Maria Emilia Marega, a young Brazilian lay missionary from the Shalom Community.

Maria Emilia, who also works for Zenit news agency, was sitting right by the altar with other young people from all four corners of the world on Palm Sunday. They had carried the palms in procession for Mass. She spoke to Emer McCarthy about the experience of being up close to Pope Francis, and of what struck her most about what he had to say to her generation. Listen: RealAudioMP3

“When he started talking”, Maria Emilia reveals “we could really feel that he was talking to the young people, when he spoke about the joy, the Cross and the youth. Everybody was writing notes and asking others if they had understood because he spoke in Italian but it was a big group from all over the world. But he was talking to us and he was saying don’t be sad, and this is something we as young people can do in our lives, and bring to others”.

Marking diocesan World Youth Day, Pope Francis also invited young people to being their journey of spiritual preparation ahead of the next global gathering, July 23-28 in Brazil, which could very well be the Holy Father’s first Apostolic Voyage.

He said “Dear friends, I too am setting out on a journey with you today, in the footsteps of Blessed John Paul II and Benedict XVI. We are already close to the next stage of this great pilgrimage of the Cross. I look forward joyfully to this coming July in Rio de Janeiro! I will see you in that great city in Brazil! Prepare well in your communities—prepare spiritually above all—so that our gathering in Rio may be a sign of faith for the whole world.”

As a Brazilian Maria Emilia says pilgrims can expect a warm welcome and open hospitality. “We Brazilians are famous for our joy and celebration. This week in Rio promises to be a great occasion and festival of the faith”.




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