RIO DE JANEIRO - Pope Francis spent the morning and early afternoon of July 26 with about two dozen young people from different countries and diverse backgrounds, in a range of encounters that illustrated his characteristic emphasis on inclusion and reconciliation.

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RIO DE JANEIRO - With his cross and resurrection, Christ promises to walk with and ease the burden of every suffering person, whether that suffering comes from violence, addiction, a broken family, hunger, persecution or the death of a loved one, Pope Francis said.

Published in World Youth Day 2013
July 25, 2013

Hope and optimism

Pope Francis is the first pope from Latin America and he ensured South America was the destination for his first foreign trip. So it was no surprise that the Argentine Pope was welcomed to World Youth Day in Brazil by huge, adoring crowds who brought his motorcade to a standstill.

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RIO DE JANEIRO - Pope Francis addressed a group of recovering drug addicts in a working-class neighborhood of Rio, offering them a message of compassion and hope as well as a call to self-determination.

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RIO DE JANEIRO - The cancellation of a scheduled Popemobile ride through a working-class neighborhood suggests that, despite official assurances, Pope Francis' chaotic entrance into the city July 22 may have raised concerns among those responsible for his safety during his first international trip as Pope.

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RIO DE JANEIRO - The mosaic of hundreds of national flags waving in the cold wind on Copacabana beach was symbolic, as pilgrims from all backgrounds, driven by a single faith, participated in the opening Mass for World Youth Day.

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RIO DE JANEIRO - The dream of trying to see Pope Francis up close ended at a police barricade for 74-year-old Odaleia Bastos.

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RIO DE JANEIRO - Pope Francis returned to his native Latin America July 22, asking for open hearts, even after the irrepressible crowds made it clear he had them.

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RIO DE JANEIRO - Hundreds of thousands of cheering people welcomed Pope Francis to Brazil July 22 as he made the first international trip of his pontificate to his native region of Latin America.

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VATICAN CITY - Sweet and simple: That's the menu plan for Pope Francis when he stays at a church-run residence during his visit to Rio de Janeiro for World Youth Day.

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VATICAN CITY - To help encourage prayers for a spiritually fruitful World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, the Vatican announced July 9 that Pope Francis authorized a special indulgence for those who attend the event's liturgies and prayer services or follow along online in the proper spirit of prayer and contrition.

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SAO PAULO - Leaders of the Brazilian bishops' conference announced their support for the massive demonstrations sweeping across South America's largest nation, but declined to say how they might affect World Youth Day activities and the visit of Pope Francis in July.

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TORONTO - With World Youth Day just over two months away, pilgrims are scrambling to fundraise their way to Rio, Brazil, in July.

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SAO PAULO (CNS) -- World Youth Day organizers have chosen a spot in Rio de Janeiro's Guaratiba neighborhood, nearly 60 miles from the city center, for the vigil and closing Mass July 27-28.

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VATICAN CITY - In his message for World Youth Day 2013, the Pope asked young people to welcome Christ’s embrace and share with others the joy of being loved by Him.

In preparation for the international youth gathering July 23-28 in Rio de Janiero, Pope Benedict XVI asked young Catholics to “reread your personal history,” looking at how the faith was passed down to them from previous generations.

The Pope also asked them not to wait to begin the task of sharing their Christian faith with others.

“We are links in a great chain of men and women who have transmitted the truth of the faith and who depend on us to pass it on to others,” he said in the message released Nov. 16 by the Vatican.
The theme of World Youth Day 2013 is “Go and make disciples of all nations.”

“This mandate should resound powerfully in your hearts,” the Pope told young people.

In fact, he said, the heart has a major role to play in bringing them closer to Christ, motivating them to share His Gospel and determining the words and actions they should use in approaching others.

“Many young people today seriously question whether life is something good and have a hard time finding their way,” the Pope said.

Faith helps people see that “every human life is priceless, because each of us is the fruit of God’s love,” he said. “God loves everyone, even those who have fallen away from Him or disregard Him.”

Pope Benedict asked young Catholics to reach out with love to their questioning or doubting peers, helping them find the hope and meaning faith brings.

As the Catholics most impacted by globalization and new technology, Pope Benedict said, young people need a special awareness and have special responsibilities in those areas.

“We are passing through a very particular period of history,” he told them. “Technical advances have given us unprecedented possibilities for interaction between peoples and nations. But the globalization of these relationships will be positive and help the world to grow in humanity only if it is founded on love rather than on materialism.”

“Love is the only thing that can fill hearts and bring people together,” he said.

While asking the young to bring their Christian values to their social media networks and other online activities, he also cautioned them to use the media wisely.

“Be aware of the hidden dangers they contain, especially the risk of addiction, of confusing the real world with the virtual, and of replacing direct and personal encounters and dialogue with Internet contacts,” he said.

Pope Benedict also told the young people that the responsibility to share the faith flows from their baptism into the Church, is sustained by prayer, nourished by receiving the Eucharist, purified through confession and strengthened by confirmation.

“If you are to remain firm in professing the Christian faith wherever you are sent, you need the Church,” he said. “No one can bear witness to the Gospel alone.”

Published in Youth Speak News