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Pope Francis calls on youth to be witnesses of hope, generosity

Pope Francis has urged young Catholics to be witnesses to hope, generosity, and solidarity, which the pontiff said, all are “in need in this difficult moment.”

The Holy Father addressed young people around the world who were celebrating World Youth Day in the diocesan level during the Angelus prayer on April 5.

He cited the scheduled handover of the Pilgrim Cross from young people of Panama to those of Lisbon that was to have taken place.

“This very significative gesture has been postponed to Christ the King Sunday, this coming 22 November,” said Pope Francis.

“While waiting for that moment, I urge you young people to cultivate and witness to the hope, to the generosity, the solidarity of which we are all in need in this difficult moment,” he said.

The pope also took the occasion to greet the faithful who joined the Palm Sunday celebration “through the means of social communication.”

“Dear friends, let us journey in faith toward Holy Week in which Jesus suffers, dies and rises,” said Pope Francis.

He invited those who cannot participate in liturgical celebrations “to gather together in prayer at home, aided by the means of technology.”

“Let us hold close spiritually those who are sick and their families, and all those who so self-sacrificingly care for them,” said the pontiff.

“Let us pray for the deceased in the light of paschal faith. Everyone is present in our hearts, in our thoughts, in our prayers,” he added.

Earlier in the day, Pope Francis offered the Palm Sunday Mass in a nearly empty St. Peter’s Basilica.

He urged Catholics quarantined at home to remember “what really matters” in life, that is loving God and serving others.

“The tragedy we are experiencing summons us to take seriously the things that are serious, and not to be caught up in those that matter less; to rediscover that life is of no use if not used to serve others. For life is measured by love,” the pope said in his homily.

Holy Week rituals in the Vatican are being held without the presence of the public because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In his homily, the pope said Catholics can look to the suffering Christ as an example of a life lived completely in the service of others.

“In these holy days, in our homes, let us stand before the Crucified One — look, look at the crucifix, the fullest measure of God’s love for us, and before the God who serves us to the point of giving his life, and let us ask for the grace to live in order to serve,” he said.

In his Angelus prayer, the pontiff also urged Catholics to learn from the Blessed Virgin Mary, who gazed upon her crucified son with inner silence and “the gaze of the heart.”

“Let us cling spiritually to the sick, to their families and to those who treat them with self-sacrifice; let us pray for the dead, in the light of paschal faith,” said Pope Francis.

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