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Proclamation of the Gospel: Pope’s mandate to young people in Assisi
Assissi, Italy, 05 October 2013: "I have neither gold nor silver to give you, but something far more precious, the Gospel of Jesus", said Pope Francis at the conclusion of his one day visit to Assisi on Friday. He was speaking to over 40,000 enthusiastic young people gathered in front of the Basilica of St Mary of the Angels, answering their questions about faith, family, vocations and their fears for the future.
Proclamation of the Gospel was the mandate he gave to them. "Move forward with courage!" He said. "With the Gospel in your heart and hands, be witnesses of faith with your life".
Pope Francis arrived at the basilica at 17.35. After his greeting to the sick, he greeted the Franciscan community and paused in silence for a short period in the Portiuncula, one of the churches repaired by the saint of Assisi, where he often withdrew to pray and where he sent his brothers on a mission.
These historical memories also explain the themes that he developed in his dialogue with young people: the gospel, mission in society, the vocation of marriage and virginity, which also correspond to the questions that some young people had for him.
"Here in Assisi, near here at the Portiuncula, the pope said - I think I hear the voice of St. Francis, who says to us: 'Gospel, Gospel.' He says it to me too, indeed, above all to me: Pope Francis, be a servant of the Gospel!
But the Gospel, dear friends, is not just about religion, it is about the person, the whole person, and about the world, society, human civilization. The Gospel is the message of God's salvation for mankind .... Salvation from what? From evil. The evil is not invincible and the Christian does not resign before the face of evil. You young people, do you want to resign in the face of evil, injustice, difficulties?, he asked them. Our secret is that God is greater than evil: God is infinite love, boundless mercy, and that Love has conquered evil at its root in the death and resurrection of Christ. This is the Gospel, the Good News: God's love has won! Christ died on the Cross for our sins and rose again. With him we can fight evil and win every day."
The Pope stressed the importance of vocation, that of marriage and virginity. The question about the sacrament of marriage was asked him by a young couple, carrying their small baby.
The pontiff recalled the parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, "were married in conditions much poorer than ours, some in time of war, or post-war, and some emigrated, like my parents. Where did they get their strength from? From the certainty that the Lord was with them, he said."
The Pope then spoke of a mother who complained to him that her son , although he had a longtime girlfriend, still would not get married. "Stop ironing his shirts", was the advice of Francis.
"Bring Christ into your homes, announce Him among your friends, welcome and serve the poor. Umbria Give a message of life, peace and hope", concluded Pope Francis.Source: AsiaNews