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Wednesday, September 4, 2013


Vatican City, 4 September 2013 (VIS) – Pope Francis today recommenced the Wednesday general audiences, following the summer break. Addressing the faithful in a crowded St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father selected as the theme of his catechesis the World Youth Day held at the end of July in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in the continent “where the majority of the world's Catholics live”.

To summarise his experience of the World Youth Day in Brazil, the Pope proposed three words: welcome, celebration and mission, remarking that the welcome he received from Brazilian families and parishes was one of the most beautiful features of his trip. “Pilgrimage always involves some discomforts, but the welcome we receive helps us to overcome them and, instead, to transform them into an opportunity for knowledge and friendship. Bonds are created that remain, especially in prayer. Also, in this way the Church grows throughout the world, as a network of true friendship in Jesus Christ, a network that, when it 'captures' you, liberates you”.

To explain the second word describing the event – celebration - Francis commented that this is always typical of World Youth Day since “when a city is full of young men and women, walking the streets carrying flags from all over the world, greeting each other, embracing each other, this is a real celebration. It is a sign for everyone, not only for believers”. But on this occasion there is also “the greatest celebration of all, which is the celebration of faith, when together we praise the Lord, we sing, we listen to the Word of God … all this is the culmination of World Youth Day, the true aim of the pilgrimage, and we live this in a special way in the great Saturday evening Vigil and the final Mass. This is the great celebration, the celebration of faith and brotherhood, which begins in this world and is without end”.

Mission is a key characteristic of this World Youth Day, the theme of which was “Go and make disciples of all nations”. Pope Francis emphasised that this is “Christ's mandate to his disciples: 'Go', come out of yourselves … to bring the light and the love of the Gospel to all, to the every extremes of existence”. And it is precisely this, Jesus' mandate, which I entrusted to the young people who filled the beach of Copacabana as far as the eye could see. A symbolic place, the ocean shore, that recalls the shore of the Lake of Galilee. Yes, as also today the Lord repeats, 'Go', and adds, 'I am with you, every day'. … Even a boy, a girl, who in the eyes of the world is of little or no account, is in the eyes of God an apostle of His kingdom, a hope for God”.

Do you want to be a hope for God, hope for the Church?” the Holy Father asked, addressing the young people present, recalling the multitudes of their peers who in Rio de Janeiro encountered the Risen Christ and are “filled with His love in their everyday lives, who live and communicate it. They do not end up in the newspapers, because they do not commit acts of violence; they do not provoke scandals, and so they do not make the news. But, if they remain united with Jesus, they build his Kingdom, they build fraternity, sharing, they carry out merciful works, and they are a potent force for making the world a more just and beautiful place, for transforming it!”

The experience of World Youth Day”, he concluded, “reminds us of the true great news of history, the Good News, even if it does not appear in the newspapers or on television: we are loved by God, Who is our Father and Who sent his Son Jesus to be near to every one of us and to save us. Welcome, celebration, mission: may these words be not only a memory of what took place in Rio; but also the spirit of our lives and our communities”.


Vatican City, 4 September 2013 (VIS) – In his greeting in various languages, the Pope addressed the Arabic-speaking faithful, especially those from Iraq, Jordan and Egypt, encouraging them to “be always united with Christ, building his Kingdom with fraternity, sharing and merciful works. Faith is a potent force capable of making the world a more just and beautiful place! Be an example of God's mercy and demonstrate to the world that trials and tribulations, difficulties, violence and evil can never defeat He Who has vanquished death: Jesus Christ”.


Vatican City, 4 September 2013 (VIS) – “This coming Saturday we will experience together a special day of fasting and prayer for pace in Syria, the Middle East”, said the Pope at the end of the catechesis of today's general audience. “I renew my invitation to all the Church to live this day intensely, and from this moment on, express my gratitude to those brothers and sisters, Christians and of other religions, and to men and women of good will who wish to join, wherever they may be and in their own way, in this moment. I particularly urge the faithful and pilgrims in Rome to participate in the prayer vigil here in St. Peter's Square at 7 p.m., to invoke from the Lord the gift of peace. Let us raise a cry for peace all over the world!”


Vatican City, 4 September 2013 (VIS) – This morning the Holy Father received in audience, in the study of the Vatican's Paul VI Hall, Antonella Mularoni and Denis Amici, the Captains Regent of the Republic of San Marino, and their entourage.

Previously the two heads of State, accompanied by Pasquale Valentini, secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Policy, met with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., and Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

During the cordial discussions, in which satisfaction was expressed regarding the good relations enjoyed between the Holy See and the Republic of San Marino, mention was made of the grave situation affecting the eastern Mediterranean area and it was agreed that only concerted commitment on the part of all nations would guarantee a peaceful solution to the current conflict and ensure the security of the entire region.
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