(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis made his second visit to Rome’s Cathedral, St. John Lateran, in as many days on Monday evening to open the Diocese of Rome’s annual pastoral conference.
Ahead of his visit, the Holy Father met with a group of refugees who have been hosted by some of the thirty-eight Roman parishes and religious communities who responded to his 2015 appeal that parishes to do their part by hosting those persons fleeing war and poverty.
Listen to Linda Bordoni's report:
Pope Francis opened Rome’s annual diocesan meeting on Monday evening with a reflection on how to accompany parents in educating their adolescent children.
Offering several “assumptions” for this aspect of pastoral care, the Bishop of Rome invited the city’s pastors to think in the Roman dialect, that is, with the faces of their flocks fixed in their minds.
“Family life and the education of adolescents in a big metropolis like this requires particular attention," he said. "The complexity of the capital does not admit of reductive syntheses, but stimulates us to think in the form of a polyhedron, in which every neighborhood finds its own echo in the diocese”.
Pope Francis then reflected on the modern experience of being “uprooted”.
He said “an uprooted society or uprooted family is a family without a history, memory, or roots… For this reason one of the first things we must think about is how to provide roots and relationships and how to promote a vital network that allows them to feel at home.”
The Pope said the adolescent experience is one of tension and transition between childhood and adulthood.
He called this a precious and difficult time in which the whole family is called to grow.
And he invited the Roman pastors not to treat adolescence as a “pathology to be medicated”; rather, he called it “a normal part of growth,” since “where there is life there is movement and change”.
The Holy Father said this offered parents a unique opportunity to stimulate young people by involving them in projects that challenge them to reach their full potential.
In conclusion, Pope Francis said one of the greatest threats to the education of teenagers is the idea of “eternal youth”.
He said when adults want to stay young and young people want to be adults there is a hidden risk of leaving teenagers out of their own growth processes, because parents have taken their place.
This, the Pope said, deprives teenagers of an experience of confrontation necessary for growth into adulthood.
(Devin Sean Watkins)