Pope Francis, youth and Brazil

2013-07-19 L’Osservatore Romano

Brazil is in suspense waiting for the Pope's visit. The visit is attracting attention especially because he is the first Latin American Pope and also because he chose the symbolic name of Francis, dear to believers and non-believers alike. The Pope's smile and simplicity, his closeness to the poor and his systematic remembrance of them in his actions and words make him a pastor prepared to lavish zeal and love on his sheep. His simple, direct words, born from a heart imbued with profound pastoral fervour, reach to the very depths of people. They instantly identify with his words because they concern their own daily lives. The light tone in which he says them takes nothing from their clarity, depth and power, conferring fresh vigour on the Church and regenerating enthusiasm for faith. In Rio de Janeiro, alongside young people from every part of the world, we shall have the opportunity to come even closer to Francis to quench our thirst with the spirituality that shines out from his gestures and his words. Without any doubt the Pope's visit will confer new ardour on the evangelization of young people who have deserved the special attention of the Church in Brazil in recent years. Although there are many young people who are active in our communities, we are worried by the number of those who are drifting away from them. It is not that they have stopped believing in God. Faith continues to be alive in their hearts, but they no longer feel the need for the Church's mediation to express it and bear witness to it. The recent demonstrations in our country are a sign that in the face of the situation of suffering that affects so many Brazilians, young people have not let themselves be contaminated by the culture of well-being which leads to indifference to our neighbour, as the Holy Father recalled recently in Lampedusa.

Raymundo Damasceno Assis