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Saturday, October 5, 2013


Vatican City, 5 October 2013 (VIS) – At 5.30 p.m., after crossing the square in front of the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels and greeting the young people who awaited him, the Holy Father entered the Basilica accompanied by the guardian of the convent, Fr. Fabrizio Migliasso, O.F.M., and Cardinal Attilio Nicora. He retreated to the Porziuncola to pray in silence for minute. At 6.15 p.m. the Pope met with young Umbrians in the square in front of the Basilica and responded to four questions on the family, work, vocation and mission, posed by eight young people representing the eight dioceses of Umbria.

In relation to the family and marriage, Francis recalled that “our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents married in conditions of far greater poverty than our own … but they found strength in the certainty that the Lord was with them, that the family was blessed by God through the Sacrament of matrimony, and that their mission of bringing children to the world and educating them was also blessed. With this certainty they overcame even the most difficult trials. They were simple certainties, but true, and they formed the pillars that supported their love. Their life was not easy; there were problems, many problems. But these simple certainties helped them to move ahead and to form a family, to give life, to raise their children”. Francis emphasised that this moral and spiritual foundation is necessary to build a solid family, a foundation that is no longer guaranteed by families and social tradition or contemporary 'provisional' culture.

In response to the other questions, the Pope used the word Gospel as a message of salvation that “refers not only to religion, but also to mankind, all of mankind: the world, society, human civilisation”. “This message of salvation has two destinations, which are united”, he said. “The first is to engender faith, and this is evangelisation; the second is to transform the world according to God's design, and this is the Christian inspiration for society”.

Francis concluded by encouraging the young to move ahead with courage, “with the Gospel in your hearts and in your hands”, and urged them to “be witnesses to faith with your life: bring Christ into your homes, proclaim Him to your friends, welcome Him and serve Him with the poor. Young people, give Umbria a message of life, peace and hope! You can do it!”

The Holy Father subsequently transferred by car to the shrine of Rivotorto where he was received at 7 p.m. by Fr. Gianmarco Arrigoni, O.F.M., and by the religious community. He then visited St. Francis' “Tugurio” (hovel), and after farewell greetings with the authorities who had received him in the morning, he departed from the Rivotorto sports field by helicopter at 7.30 p.m., arriving shortly after in the Vatican.

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