CAGLIARI, Sunday, September 22, 2013 

7:30 Departure by plane from Ciampino/Rome airport

8:15 Arrival at "Mario Mameli" airport of Cagliari Elmas. 8:45 Meeting with workers in Largo Carlo Felice

Address of the Holy Father 9:45 Greeting to public authorities in the square in front of the Shrine of Our Lady of Bonaria of Cagliari Greeting to sick people gathered in the Basilica of Our Lady of Bonaria 10:30 Holy Mass in the square in front of the Shrine of Our Lady of Bonaria

 Homily of the Holy Father Prayer of the Angelus Domini.

 Address of the Holy Father 13:00 Luncheon with the Bishops of Sardinia at the Pontifical Regional Seminary of Cagliari.

15:00 Meeting with poor and prison inmates gathered in the Cathedral of Cagliari.

 Address of the Holy Father Brief meeting with the Cloistered Sisters

 Greeting of the Holy Father 16:00 Meeting with the academic and cultural world gathered in the Lecture Hall of the Pontifical Theological Faculty of Sardinia.

 Address of the Holy Father 17:00 Meeting with the young people at the conclusion of the event "Cast your nets" in Largo Carlo Felice.

 Address of the Holy Father 18:30 Departure by plane from the airport "Mario Mameli" of Cagliari Elmas for Rome/Ciampino airport.

 

On Our Lady of Bonaria

CAGLIARI, September 22, 2013  - Here is the translation of the Holy Father's address prior to the recitation of the Angelus after Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of Bonaria in Cagliari today.

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Dear brothers and sisters,

Before concluding this celebration, I greet in particular my brother bishops of Sardinia, whom I thank. Here, at the feet of Our Lady, I would like to thank each and every one of you, dear faithful, priests, religious, public officials and in a special way those who worked together to organize this visit. Above all I would like to entrust you to Mary, Our Lady of Bonaria. But at this moment I think of all the Marian shrines of Sardinia: your land has a strong connection with Mary, a connection that you express in your devotion and in your culture. Always be true sons of Mary and the Church, and show it with you life, following the example of the saints!

In this regard, we recall that yesterday, in Bergamo, Tommaso Acerbis da Olera, a Capuchin friar, who lived between the 16th and 17th centuries, was beatified. We give thanks for this witness of humility and charity of Christ!

Now let us recite the prayer of the Angelus together.

[The Holy Father then recited the Angelus together with those present. Following this, in conclusion he said:]

I wish you a good Sunday and a good lunch!

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The Holy Father's homily at the Shrine of Our Lady of Bonaria in Cagliari.

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[In Sardinian the Holy Father said:]

May the peace of the Lord be with you always.

[In Italian he said:]

Today the wish that I had mentioned in St. Peter’s Square before the start of summer, to be able to visit the Shrine of Our Lady of Bonaria, is realized.

1. I have come to share with you the joys and hopes, toil and effort, ideals and aspirations of your island, and to confirm you in the faith. Here too in Cagliari, as in the rest of Sardinia, difficulties are not lacking – there are many – problems and worries: I think especially of the lack of work and of the precariousness and so of the uncertainty of the future. Sardinia, this beautiful region of yours, has for a long time suffered from many situations of poverty, which is also accentuated by its geographical isolation. The loyal cooperation of everyone is necessary, with the commitment of the heads of institutions – including the Church – to secure fundamental rights to persons and families and make a more fraternal and solidary society grow; to secure the right to work, the right to provide bread for your family, bread earned by work! I am close to you! I am close to you, I remember you in prayer, and I encourage you to persevere in witness to the human and Christian values so deeply rooted in the faith and history of this land and its people. Always keep the light of hope burning!

2. I have come among you to place myself with you at the feet of Our Lady, who gives us her Son. I know well that Mary, our Mother, is in your heart, as this shrine testifies, a sanctuary where many generations of Sardinians have come – and will continue to come! – to invoke the protection of Our Lady of Bonaria, great patroness of this island. Here you bring the joys and sufferings of this island, of its families, and of those children who live far from here, who often left with great sorrow and nostalgia to find work and a future for themselves and their loved ones. Today, all of us who gathered here would like to thank Mary for always being near us; we wish to renew our trust in her and love for her.

The first reading that we heard shows us Mary in prayer, in the upper room together with the apostles. Mary prays, she prays together with the disciples, and she teaches us to have complete trust in God, in his mercy. This is the power of prayer! We do not tire of knocking at God’s door. Every day, through Mary, we bring to God’s heart our whole life! Knock at the door of God’s heart!

In the Gospel we see Jesus’ last glance at his Mother (cf. John 19:25-27). From the cross Jesus looks upon his Mother and entrusts the apostle John to her, saying: This is your son. All of us too are in John and Jesus’ look of love entrusts us to the Mother’s maternal protection. Mary would have recalled another look of love from when she was a young woman: the look of God the Father, who looked upon her humility, her littleness. Mary teaches us that God does not abandon us, he can do great things even with our weakness. We trust in Him! Let us knock at the door of his heart!

3. And the third thought: today I have come among you, or rather, we have all come together to encounter the gaze of Mary, because in it is reflected the gaze of the Father, who made her Mother of God, and the gaze of the Son on the cross, who made her our mother. And with that gaze Mary looks upon us today. We need her gaze of tenderness, her maternal gaze that knows us better than any other, her gaze that is full of compassion and care. Mary, today we would like to say to you: Mary, give us the gift of your gaze! Your gaze leads us to God, your gaze is a gift of the good Father that attends to us at every turn of our journey, it is a gift of Jesus Christ on the cross, who takes our sufferings, our toil, our sin upon himself. And to encounter this Father full of love we say today: Mary, give us the gift of your gaze! Let us say it all together: “Mary, give us the gift of your gaze! Mary, give us the gift of your gaze!”

We are not alone on the often difficult journey, we are many, we are a people, and the gaze of Our Lady helps us to look with a brotherly gaze upon each other. Let us look upon each other in a more brotherly way! Mary teaches us to have that gaze that that seeks to welcome, to accompany, to protect. Let us learn to look upon each other under the maternal gaze of Mary! There are people whom we instinctively give less consideration but who have greater need of our consideration: the abandoned, the sick, those who lack what they need to live, those who do not know Jesus, young people who are in difficulty, young people who do not find work. Let us not be afraid to go out and look upon our brothers and sisters with the gaze of Our Lady. She invites us to be true brothers. And let us not allow anything or anyone to come between us and the gaze of Our Lady. Mother, give us the gift of your gaze! Let no one hide it! May our filial heart know how to defend it from the many words that cause illusions; from those who have a covetous gaze wanting an easy life, of promises that they cannot keep. Let them not rob us of Mary’s gaze, which is full of tenderness, that gives us strength, that makes us solidary with each other. Let us all say together: Mother, give us the gift of your gaze! Mother, give us the gift of your gaze! Mother, give us the gift of your gaze!

[Concluding in Sardinian, he said:]

May Our Lady of Bonaria always be with you in life!

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Pope Francis' Address to Poor and Detainees

CAGLIARI, September 22, 2013 - Here is Pope Francis’ address to several poor people at the Cathedral of Cagliari who are helped by Caritas and several prisoners from the Casa Circondariale of Cagliari.

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Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Thank you all for being here today. In your faces I see exhaustion, but I also see hope. Feel yourselves loved by the Lord and also by so many good persons, who with their prayer and their work help to alleviate the sufferings of their neighbor. I feel at home here. And I also hope that you feel at home in this Cathedral: as we say in Latin America, “this house is your house,” it is your house.

Here we feel strongly and concretely that we are all brothers. Here the only Father is our heavenly Father; the only Teacher is Jesus Christ. So the first thing I want to share with you is in fact this joy of having Jesus as Teacher, as model of life. We look at him! This gives us strength, so much consolation in our fragilities, in our miseries and in our difficulties. All of us have difficulties, all of us. All of us who are here have difficulties. All of us who are here –all – have miseries and all of us who are here have fragilities. No one here is better than another. We are all equal before the Father, all of us!

And looking at Jesus we see that He chose the way of humility and service. More than that, He himself in person is this way. Jesus was not undecided, he was not “non-committal “: he made a choice and he fulfilled it to the end. He chose to become man, and as man to be servant, to death on the cross. This is the way of love: there is no other. Because of this we see that charity is not simply welfarism, and less so welfarism to tranquilize consciences. No, that’s not love, that is business, that is business. Love is free. Charity, love is a choice of life, it is a way of being, of living, it is the way of humility and of solidarity. There is no other way for this love: to be humble and solidaristic. This word, solidarity, in this throw away culture – what is not useful is thrown out – so that only those who feel righteous, who feel pure, who feel clean remain. Poor things! This word, solidarity, risks being cancelled from the dictionary, because it is a word that is bothersome, bothersome, why? Because it obliges you to look at the other and to give yourself to the other with love. It’s better to take it out of the dictionary because it’s bothersome. And we don’t, we say: this is the way, humility and solidarity. Why? Did we priests invent it? No! It is Jesus’: He said it! And we want to walk on this way. Christ’s humility isn’t a moralism, a sentiment. Christ’s humility is real, it is the choice of being little, of being with the little ones, with the excluded, to be among us, sinners all. Be careful, it isn’t an ideology. It’s a way of being and of living that springs from love, from the heart of God.

This is the first thing, and I so like to talk about it with you. We look at Jesus: He is our joy, but also our strength, our certitude, because He is the sure way: humility, solidarity, service. There is no other way. In the statue of Our Lady of Bonaria, Christ appears in Mary’s arms. She, as a good Mother, points to him, she tells us to trust in Him.

But it’s not enough to look, we must follow! And this is the second aspect. Jesus did not come into the world to parade himself, to make himself seen. He did not come for this. Jesus is the way, and a way serves to walk on, to walk on it. So I wish first of all to thank the Lord for your commitment in following Him, also in exhaustion, in suffering between the walls of a prison. We continue to trust Him; He will give your heart hope and joy! I would like to thank Him for all of you who dedicate yourselves generously, here  at Cagliari and in the whole of Sardinia, to the works of mercy. I want to encourage you to continue on this way, to go forward together, seeking to preserve first of all charity among you. This is very important. We cannot follow Jesus on the way of charity if we don’t first of all love one another, if we don’t make an effort to collaborate, to understand and at times to forgive one another, each one recognizing his/her  own limitations and mistakes. We must do the works of mercy, but with mercy! with our hearts there. We must do the works of charity with charity, with tenderness, and always with humility! Do you know? Sometimes one finds arrogance in the service to the poor! I’m sure you’ve seen it. Arrogance in the service of those who are in need of our service. Some make themselves beautiful, filled their mouth with the poor, some instrumentalize the poor for personal interests or those of the group. I know it, it’s human, but it’s not right! This is not of Jesus. And I say more: this is sin! It is serious sin, because it is to use the needy, those who are in need, who are the flesh of Jesus, for one’s vanity! I use Jesus for my vanity, and this is a serious sin! It would be better if these persons stayed at home!

So: to follow Jesus on the way of charity, to go with Him to the existential fringes. “Jesus’ charity is an urgency!” said Paul (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:14). For the good Pastor what is far away, peripheral, what is scattered and scorned is object of greater care, and the Church cannot but make hers this predilection and this attention. In the Church, the first are those who have greater need, human, spiritual, material, more need.

3. And following Christ on the way of charity, we sow hope. To sow hope: this is the third conviction that I like to share with you. Italian society today is in great need of hope, and Sardinia in a particular way. Those who have the political and civil responsibility have their task, which, as citizens, we must support actively. Some members of the Christian community are called to be committed in this field of politics, which is a high form of charity, as Paul VI said. But as Church we all have a strong responsibility which is to sow hope with works of solidarity always seeking to collaborate in a better way with the public institutions, in respect of the respective competencies.

Caritas is the expression of the community, and the strength of the Christian community is to make society grow from within, as leaven. I am thinking of your initiatives with prisoners in jails; I am thinking of the voluntary work of so many associations, of solidarity with families that suffer more because of the lack of work. In this I say to you: courage! Don’t let yourselves be robbed of hope and go forward! Don’t let them rob you of it! On the contrary: sow hope! Thank you, dear friends! I bless you all, together with your families. And thanks to you all!

At the end of his address, the Pope recited the Our Father together with the poor and the prisoners present in the Cathedral, then he said the following words:

May the Lord bless you all: your families, your problems, your joys, your hopes. In the name of the Father, of the Don and of the Holy Spirit. And, please, I ask you to pray for me: I need it!

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 Pope's Address to Laborers in Cagliari

CAGLIARI, September 22, 2013 - Here is the translation of the Holy Father’s address upon his arrival to Cagliari, in the Italian island of Sardinia.

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Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

I greet you cordially: workers, entrepreneurs, authorities, families present, in particular the Archbishop, Monsignor Arrigo Miglio, and the three of you who have expressed your problems, your expectations and also your hopes. This visit – as you said – begins in fact with you, who make up the world of work. With this meeting I wish above all to express to you my closeness, especially to the situations of suffering: to so many unemployed young people, to persons on unemployment benefits or precarious <circumstances>, to the entrepreneurs and business who exert themselves to go forward. It’s a reality that I know well because of the experience in Argentina. I didn’t experience it but my family did: my father, as a youth, went to Argentina full of hopes to “make it in America.” And he suffered the terrible crisis of the 30s. They lost everything! There was no work! And I heard talk about this in my home in my childhood. I didn’t see it, I wasn’t born yet, but I felt this suffering in my home, I heard talk of this suffering. I know this well! But I must say to you: “Courage!” But I’m also conscious that I must do everything on my part, so that the word “courage” is not just a beautiful passing word! That it not be  just a cordial smile of an employee, an employee of the Church who comes and says to you: “Courage!” No! I don’t want this! I want this courage to come from within and that it drive me to do all I can as Pastor, as man. You must face it with solidarity, among yourselves – also among us --, all of us must face this historic challenger with solidarity and intelligence.

This is the second city I visit in Italy. It’s curious: both – the first and this one – are islands. In the first I saw the suffering of so many people who , risking their life, seek dignity, bread, health: the world of refugees. And I saw the answer of that city, which – being an island – did not want to isolate itself and received them, made them its own; it gives us an example of welcome: suffering and positive answer. Here, in this second city, island that I visit, I also find suffering here. A suffering that one of you said “weakens you and ends by robbing you of hope.” A suffering – the lack of work – that leads you – forgive me if I’m a bit strong, but I say the truth – to feel without dignity! Where there is no work, dignity is lacking! And this isn’t only a problem of Sardinia – but it’s strong here! – it’s not only a problem of Italy and of some countries of Europe, it’s the consequence of a worldwide choice, of an economic system that leads to this tragedy; an economic system that has an idol at the center, which is called money.

God did not want the center of the world to be an idol, but man, man and woman, who lead the world forward with their work. However now, in this system without ethics, there is an idol at the center and the world has become idolatrous of this god-money.” Pennies command! Money commands! All these things command that serve it, this idol. And what happens? To defend this idol they all crowd at the center and the last fall, the elderly fall because in this world there isn’t a place for them! Some speak about this habit of “hidden euthanasia,” of not taking care of them, of not taking them into account … “Yes, we let them lose …” And young people fall who don’t find work and their dignity. But think of it, a world where young people – two generations of young people – don’t have work. Such as world has no future. Why? Because they don’t have dignity! It’s difficult to have dignity without working. This is your suffering here. This is the prayer you cried out from over there: “Work,” “Work,” “Work.” It’s a necessary prayer. Work means dignity; work means bringing the bread home; work means to love! To defend this idolatrous economic system, the “throw away culture” is installed: grandparents are discarded and young people are discarded. And we must say “no” to this “throw away culture.” We must say: “We want a just system! A system that makes everyone go forward.” We must say: We don’t want this globalized economic system, which does us so much harm!” Man and woman should be at the center, as God wishes, not money!

I wrote some things for you, but, looking at you, these words came to me. I will give these written words to the Bishop as if they had been said. But I preferred to say to you what comes to me from my heart as I look at you at this moment! Look, it’s easy to say don’t lose hope. But to all, to all of you, those who have work and those who don’t have work, I say: “Don’t let yourselves be robbed of hope! Don’t let yourselves be robbed of hope!” Perhaps hope is as the embers under the ashes; let us help one another with solidarity, blowing on the ashes, so that the fire will come back once again. But hope carries us forward. It isn’t optimism; it’s something else. But hope is not just of one person, all of us make hope! We must uphold hope among all, all of you and all of us who are far away. Hope is a thing of yours and of ours. It is something of all! Because of this, I say to you: “Don’t let yourselves be robbed of hope!” But let us be cunning, because the Lord tells us that the idols are more cunning than we are. The Lord invites us to have the cunning of the serpent, with the gentleness of the dove. We have this cunning and we call things by their name. At this moment, in our economic system, in our proposed globalized system of life, there is an idol at the center and this can’t be done! Let us struggle all together so that at the center, at least in our life, are man and woman, the family, all of us, so that hope can go forward. “Don’t let yourselves be robbed of hope!”

Now I would like to end by praying with all of you, in silence, praying with all of you. I will say what comes to me from my heart and you, in silence, pray with me.

“Lord God look at us! Look at this city, this island. Look at our families.

Lord, you were not lacking work; you were a carpenter, you were happy.

Lord, we lack work.

The idols want to rob us of our dignity. The unjust systems want to rob us of hope.

Lord, don’t leave us alone. Help us to help one another; to forget our egoism a bit and to feel in our heart the “we,” we a people that wants to go forward.

Lord Jesus, you were not lacking work, give us work and teach us to struggle for work and bless us all. In the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

Thank you so much and pray for me!

Following are the other words that Pope Francis had prepared and that he gave to the Archbishop of Cagliari, giving them as read:

I would like to share with you three simple but decisive points.

The first: To put back the person and work at the center. The economic crisis has a European and global dimension; but the crisis is not only economic, it is also ethical, spiritual and human. At the root is a betrayal of the common good, be it on the part of individuals or of power groups. Hence, it is necessary to take away the centrality of the law of profit and private income and replace at the center the person and the common good. In fact work is a very important factor for the dignity of the person; work must be guaranteed if there is to be a genuine promotion of the person. This is a task that belongs to the whole of society, because of this, great merit is recognized to those entrepreneurs that, despite everything, have not stopped committing themselves, investing and risking themselves to guarantee employment. The culture of work, as opposed to that of welfare, implies education to work from one’s youth, accompanying work must be the dignity of every work activity, the sharing of work, elimination of every black work. In this phase, the whole of society, in all its components, must make every possible effort so that work, which is the source of dignity, is the central concern. Your insular condition renders this commitment on the part of all that much more urgent, above all that of the political and economic entities.

Second element: the Gospel of hope. Sardinia is a land blessed by God with so many human and environmental resources, but as the rest of Italy it needs a new élan to get started again. And Christians can and must do their part, making their specific contribution: the evangelical vision of life. I recall the words of Pope Benedict XVI in his visit to Cagliari in 2008: when he said “to evangelize the world of work, of the economy, of politics, which needs a new generation of committed lay Christians able to seek with competence and moral rigor solutions of sustainable development” (Homily, September 7, 2008). The Bishops of Sardinia are particularly sensitive to this reality, especially that of work. You, dear Bishops, indicate the need of a serious and realistic discernment, but orientated also to a path of hope, as you wrote in the Message in preparation for this visit. This is important, this is the right answer! To look at reality in the face, to know it well, to understand it, and to seek together ways, with the method of collaboration and dialogue, of living closeness to bring hope. Never obfuscate hope! Don’t confuse it with optimism – which is simply a psychological attitude – or with other things. Hope is creative; it is capable of creating a future.

Third: a fitting work for all. A society open to hope does not shut itself in on itself, in defense of the interests of a few, but looks ahead in the perspective of the common good. And this requires on the part of all a strong sense of responsibility. There is not social hope without fitting work for all. Because of this, one must “pursue as a priority the objective of access to work and of its maintenance for all” (Benedict XVI, encyclical Caritas in veritate, 32).

I have said “fitting” work, and I underline it, because unfortunately, especially when there is a crisis and the need is strong, inhuman work increases, slave-labor, work without the just security, or without respect for creation, or without respect of rest, of celebration and of the family, working on Sunday when it’s not necessary. Work must be combined with the protection of creation, so that it is preserved with responsibility for future generations. Creation is not merchandise to exploit but a gift to protect. The ecological commitment itself is an occasion of new employment in sectors connected with it, such as energy, the prevention and destruction of different forms of pollution, vigilance over the fires of the woodland patrimony, and so on. May the protection of creation, the protection man with fitting work be the commitment of all! Ecology … and also, “human ecology”!

Dear friends, I am particularly close to you, placing in the hands of the Lord and of Our lady of Bonaria all your anxieties and worries. Blessed John Paul II stressed that Jesus “worked with his own hands. In fact, his work, which was real physical work, occupied the greater part of his life on this earth, and he entered thus in the work of the redemption of man and of the world” (Address to Workers, Terni, March 19, 1981). It is important to dedicate oneself to one’s work with assiduousness, dedication and competence, it is important to have the habit of work.

I hope that, in the logic of gratuitousness and of solidarity, we will be able to come out together from this negative phase, so that secure, fitting and stable work is ensured.

Take my greeting to your families, to children, to young people and to the elderly. I also take you with me, especially in my prayer. And I impart my heartfelt Blessings upon you, your work and your social commitment.

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Dear Young People of Sardinia,

 It seems as if there are a few young people, doesn’t it? A few or many? [Crowd cheers.] There are lots of you!

 Thank you for coming to this meeting in such large numbers! And thank you to the “spokespeople”. Seeing you reminds me of the World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro. Perhaps several of you were there, but many must certainly have followed it on television and on the internet. It was a very beautiful experience, a celebration of faith and brotherhood that filled one with joy. The same joy that we feel today. Let us thank the Lord and the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Bonaria: it is she who has enabled us to meet here. Pray to her often, she is a good mother, I assure you! Some of your “queries”, your questions [were hard to understand]... but I also speak in dialect, here too! Some of your questions are similar. I am thinking of the Gospel by the shores of the Sea of Galilee, where Simon, who Jesus was later to call Peter, and his brother Andrew, together with James and John, also brothers, all lived and worked as fishermen. Jesus was surrounded by the crowd who wanted to listen to his word. He saw those fishermen mending their nets beside the boats. He climbed on to Simon’s boat and asked him to put out a little from the shore. So it was that he spoke to the people sitting in the boat; Jesus addressed the people from the boat. When he had finished, he told Simon to put out into the deep and let down his nets. This request was a “trial” for Simon — listen carefully to the word: a “trial” — for he and the others had just come back from fishing all night with nothing to show for it. Simon was a sincere and practical man, and he immediately said to Jesus: “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing”.

 This is the first point: the experience of failure. In your questions there was this experience: the sacrament of Confirmation, — what is this sacrament called? Confirmation... No! Its name has changed: the “sacrament of farewell”. hey do this and then they leave the Church. Is this true or not? This is an experience of failure. The other experience of failure: young people aren’t in the parishes: you yourselves have talked about this. This experience of a failure, something that goes wrong, a disappointment. Youth looks ahead, but at times it happens to experience failure, some frustration. This is a trial and it is important! And now I want to pose a question to you; however, do not reply out loud but in silence. May each one one of you think in his or her heart, think of your own experiences of failure, think about them. It is certain: we all have these experiences, we all have them.

 We very frequently have this experience in the Church: priests, catechists, and animators tire themselves out, they spend so much energy, they put everything into it, and in the end they do not always see results that correspond to their efforts. Your “spokespeople” also said this in their first two questions. They referred to the communities where faith seems somewhat faded, where few of the faithful take an active part in the life of the Church, Christians are seen who are sometimes weary and sad and many young people move off after receiving Confirmation. The sacrament of farewell, of goodbye, as I said. It is an experience of failure, an experience that leaves emptiness and discourages us. Is this true or not? [Crowd responds "Yes"] Is it true or not? [Crowd "Yes"].

 In the face of this situation you are right to wonder: what can we do? Of course one thing is to let oneself be overcome by pessimism and distrust. Pessimistic Christians: how awful! You young people can’t and mustn’t be lacking in hope, hope is part of your being. A young person without hope is not young but has aged prematurely! Hope is part of your youth! if you don’t have any hope, think seriously, think seriously.... A young person without joy and without hope is upsetting: he is not young. And when a young person has no joy, when he lacks confidence in life or loses hope, where can he go to find a bit of tranquillity, a bit of peace? Without trust, without hope and without joy? You know, the merchants of death, these merchants that sell death, offer you a way out when you are sad, when you are without hope, without trust and disheartened! Please don’t sell your youth to these people who sell death! All of you know what I’m talking about! You have all got it: don’t sell!

 Let’s return to the scene of the Gospel: Peter, in that critical moment, takes a risk. What could he have done? He could have given in to weariness and to discouragement, thinking that it is pointless and that it is better to withdraw and go home. Instead, what does he do? With courage, he steps out of himself and decides to trust Jesus. He says: “Well, alright! At your word I will let down the nets”. Be careful! He does not say: at my strength, my calculations, my experience as an expert fisherman, but rather “at your word”, at the word of Jesus! And the result is an incredible catch, the nets are filled to the point that they almost tear.

 This is the second point: trusting Jesus, trusting Jesus. And when I say this I want to be sincere and to tell you that I do not come here to sell you an illusion. I come here to say: there is a Person who can keep you going, trust in him! It is Jesus! Trust in Jesus! And Jesus is not an illusion! Trust in Jesus. The Lord is always with us. He comes to the shores of the sea of our life, he makes himself close to our failures, our frailty, and our sins in order to transform them. Never stop staking yourselves on him, over and over again, as good sportsmen — some of you know this well from experience — who can face the strain of training in order to achieve results! Difficulties must not frighten you but on the contrary spur you to go beyond them. Hear Jesus’ words as though they were addressed to you: put out into the deep and let down your nets, young people of Sardinia! Put out into the deep! Be ever more docile to the Lord’s word; it is he, it is his word, it is following him that brings to fruition your commitment to witnessing. When your efforts to reawaken faith in your friends seem to be in vain, like the nocturnal efforts of the fishermen, remember that with Jesus everything changes. The word of the Lord has filled the nets and the word of the Lord makes the missionary work of his disciples effective. Following Jesus is demanding, it means not being satisfied with small goals of little account but aiming on high with courage!

 It is not good — it is not good — to stop at “we took nothing”; rather, go further, to “put out into the deep and let down your nets”, once again, and without tiring! Jesus repeats this to each one of you. And it is he who will give you the strength! There is the threat of complaining or of resignation. Let’s leave these epithets to the followers of the “goddess of lamentation”. And you, are you following the “goddess of lamentation”? Are you continuously wailing as in a funeral wake? No, young people can’t do that! The “goddess of lamentation” is a deception: she makes you take the wrong road. When everything seems to be standing still and stagnant, when personal problems disturb us and social hardships do not meet with the right responses, it is not good to consider oneself vanquished. Jesus is the way: get him to embark on our “boat” and put out into the deep with him! He is the Lord! He changes the prospect of life. Faith in Jesus leads to a hope that goes further, to a certainty based not on our qualities and skills alone, but on the word of God, on the invitation that comes from him. Without making too many human calculations and without worrying about checking whether the situation that surrounds you coincides with your points of security. Put out into the deep, go out of yourselves: go out of our small world and open ourselves to God, to open ourselves increasingly also to our brethren. Opening ourselves to God is opening ourselves to others. Take a few steps outside ourselves, little steps, but take them. Little steps, going out of yourselves toward God and toward others, opening your heart to brotherhood, to friendship and to solidarity. 

 Third — and I conclude; [this] is somewhat lengthy! “Let down your nets for catch” (v. 4). Dear young Sardinians, the third thing I want to tell you, and in this way I am answering the other two questions, is that you too are called to become “fishers of men”. Don’t hesitate to spend your life witnessing joyfully to the Gospel, especially among your peers. I want to tell you of a personal experience. Yesterday I celebrated the 60th anniversary of the day when I heard Jesus’ voice in my heart. I am not telling you this so that you will make me a cake here, no, that is not why I’m saying it. However, it is a commemoration: 60 years since that day. I will never forget it. The Lord made me strongly aware that I should take that path. I was 17 years old. Several years passed before this decision, this invitation became concrete and definitive. So many years have gone by, with some successes and joys but so many years with failures, frailties, sin... 60 years on the Lord’s road, behind him, beside him, always with him. I only tell you this: I have no regrets! I have no regrets! Why? Because I feel like Tarzan and I feel strong enough to go ahead? No, I have not regretted it because always, even at the darkest moments, the moments of sin and moments of frailty, moments of failure, I have looked at Jesus and trusted in him and he has not deserted me. Trust in Jesus: he always keeps on going, he goes with us! However, listen, he never let us down. He is faithful, he is a faithful companion. Think, this is my witness: I am glad about these 60 years with the Lord. However, something more about moving ahead.

 Have I gone on for too long? [Crowd: "No!"]. Let’s stay united in prayer. And journey on in this life with Jesus: the saints did it.

 Saints are like this: they are not born perfect, already holy! They become so because, like Simon Peter they trust in the word of the Lord and “put out into the deep”. Your land has contributed so many witnesses and recently too: the Blesseds: Antonia Mesina, Gabriella Sagheddu, Giuseppina Nicoli; the Servants of God: Edvige Carboni, Simonetta Tronci and Fr Antonio Loi. They are ordinary people who instead of complaining “let down their nets for a catch”. Imitate their example, entrust yourselves to their intercession and always be men and women of hope! No complaining! No discouragement! Never be depressed, never go to purchase comfort from death: none of it! Go forward with Jesus! He never fails, he never disappoints, he is loyal!

 Pray for me. And may Our Lady go with you.

...and just to work in one last line, the beginning of Francis' address in the cathedral of the Sardinian capital, Calgiari, to an audience of prisoners, the poor and those who minister to them:

 Thank you all for being here today. I see exhaustion in your faces but I also see hope. Feel loved by the Lord and also by many good people who aid and alleviate their neighbour’s suffering with their prayers and action.

 I feel at home here. And I also hope that you feel at home in this Cathedral, as we say in Latin America: “this home is your home”. It is your home.

Indeed, it's a new opening for the church... as for seeing it borne out at "ground level," well, we can only hope.

 

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