The World

Pope confesses young people at WYD

This morning the Pope heard the confessions of some young pilgrims at World Youth Day. Afterwards, he went to the Serafina Parish Center for a meeting with assistance and charity centers. Francis could not finish his speech because he could not see the text well, so he improvised a few words. This afternoon, the Stations of the Cross will take place with young people from all over the world.

Loreto Rios-August 4, 2023-Reading time: 3 minutes

The Pope confesses a young man this morning at WYD ©CNS photo/Vatican Media

This morning the Pope celebrated Mass in private and then went to the Vasco de Gama Garden where, at 9.00 a.m. (Lisbon time), he heard confessions from some of the young people participating in the World Youth Day.

In this park, called "Forgiveness Park" at WYD, there are 150 confessionals built by prisoners from the prisons of Coimbra, Paços de Ferreira and Porto.

He then drove to the Serafina Parish Center to meet at 9:45 a.m. (local time) with some representatives of assistance and charity centers.

"Charity is the goal of the Christian journey."

The meeting was attended by the Serafina Parish Center, the Casa Famiglia Ajuda de Berço and the Acreditar association.

After an opening hymn, the Pope was welcomed by the parish priest and director of the center. He was then introduced to the three centers participating in the meeting and the Pontiff began a speech in Spanish.

In it, Francisco recalled the WYD motto, which refers to the Visitation of Mary, as an example of charity: "It is beautiful to be here together, in the context of World Youth Day, as we contemplate the Virgin Mary getting up and going to help her elderly relative Elizabeth (cf. Lk 1:39). Charity, in fact, is the origin and goal of the Christian journey, and your presence, a concrete reality of 'love in action', helps us not to forget the path, the meaning of what we do. Thank you for your testimonies, of which I would like to underline three aspects: doing good together, acting concretely and being close to the most fragile".

He also recalled that each person is a "unique gift": "Each one of us is a gift, a unique gift-with its limits-a precious and sacred gift for God, for the Christian community and for the human community. So, as we are, let us enrich the whole and let us allow ourselves to be enriched by the whole".

An impromptu speech

The Holy Father stopped the reading in the middle of the speech, indicating that "the spotlights" did not allow him to see well. He commented that he would send the text of the speech to those present so that they could read it and, leaving the papers, he continued speaking in an improvised manner, to the applause of the audience.

He pointed out that it is necessary to emphasize "the concrete. There is no abstract love, it does not exist, platonic love is in orbit, it is not in reality". He also stressed that "concrete love" is the one that "gets its hands dirty".

He invited the participants to ask themselves: "Is the love I feel concrete or abstract?" and if, when we shake hands with a sick person, we want to clean it: "Am I disgusted by the poverty of others? Do I always look for distilled life, that which exists in my fantasy but not in reality?". "How many distilled lives, useless, that pass through life without leaving a trace, because their life has no weight. And here we have a reality that leaves weight, which is an inspiration to others," he continued. He also wanted to highlight the work of the charitable associations: "You generate new life continuously, with your commitment, you are generating inspiration. Thank you for that. I thank you from the bottom of my heart, keep going and don't get discouraged, and if you get discouraged, take a glass of water and keep going".

At the end of the meeting, the Our Father was prayed and the Pope gave the final blessing. He then went to greet the children of the choir and gave them each a rosary. He then went to the Apostolic Nunciature for lunch at 12 noon (Lisbon time) with Cardinal Manuel Clemente and ten young people of different nationalities.

Rise up" catechesis of the bishops

At the same time as these meetings of the Pope with different institutions, the "Rise up" catecheses of the bishops for pilgrims are taking place. An Arab seminarian who attended one of these catecheses reflects on the topics discussed: "We young people cannot be disciples of the cell phone. Social networks are not our teachers, but Christ Jesus, the true Teacher. It is vital that young people have good criteria and good formation in their faith and in the doctrine of the Church in order to truly live tolerance".

This evening, at 6:00 p.m. (Lisbon time), the Pope's Way of the Cross with the WYD pilgrims will take place on the "Hill of the Encounter".

In collaboration with
Do you want independent, truthful and relevant news?

Dear reader, Omnes reports with rigor and depth on religious news. We do a research work that allows the reader to acquire criteria on the events and stories that happen in the Catholic sphere and the Church. We have star signatures and correspondents in Rome who help us to make the background information stand out from the media noise, with ideological distance and independence.

We need you to face the new challenges of a changing media landscape and a reality that demands reflection, we need your support.

In collaboration with
La Brújula Newsletter Leave us your email and receive every week the latest news curated with a catholic point of view.