Pope Francis' Visit to Turin June 2015 


Pope’s Homily During Mass at Piazza Vittorio in Turin

“The spirit of the world is always looking for something new, but it is only the faithfulness of Jesus that is capable of true innovation, of making us new men.”

By Staff Reporter

Turin, June 21, 2015

Here is the translation of Pope Francis’ homily during the outdoor Mass in Piazza Vittorio in Turin.

* * *

In the Opening Prayer, we prayed: “Give your people, Father, the gift of living always in veneration and love for your Holy Name, so that Your grace may not be deprived from those whom you have established on the rock of your love.” And the readings that we have heard show us how is this love of God towards us: it is a faithful love, a love that recreates everything, a stable and secure love.

The Psalm invites us to give thanks to the Lord because “his love is everlasting.” That is the faithful love, fidelity: it is a love that does not disappoint, it never fails. Jesus embodies this love, He is the Witness. He never tires of loving us, of supporting us, of forgiving us, and thus He accompanies us on the path of life, according to the promise He made to the disciples: “I am with you everyday, even to the end of the world (Mt. 28,20). He was made man out of love, out of love he died and rose again, and out of love he is always at our side, in the beautiful moments and in the difficult ones. Jesus loves us always, until the end, without limits and without measure. And He loves us all, to the point that each one of us can say: “He gave his life for me”. Jesus’ faithfulness does not give up, even in front of our infidelity. Saint Paul reminds us of this: “If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself” (2 Tim. 2,13).

Jesus remains faithful, even when we have done wrong, and he waits to forgive us: He is the face of the Merciful Father. This is the faithful love. The second aspect: the love of God recreates everything, that is that He makes all things news, as we are reminded in the Second Reading. To recognize our limits, our weaknesses, is the door that opens the forgiveness of Jesus, to his love that can deeply renew us, that can recreate us. Salvation can enter in the heart when we open ourselves to the truth and recognize our mistakes, our sins; now let us make an experience, that beautiful experience of He who has come not for the healthy, but for the sick, not for the just ones, but the sinners (cfr Mt. 9, 12-13); let us experience His patience, His tenderness, His will to save all. And what is the sign? The sign that we have become “new” and that we have been transformed by the love of God is to strip off the worn out and old clothes of grudges and enmities to wear the clean robes of meekness, goodness, service to others, of peace in the heart, of children of God. The spirit of the world is always looking for something new, but it is only the faithfulness of Jesus that is capable of true innovation, of making us new men.

Finally, the love of God is stable and secure, as the rocky shores that shelter from the violence of the waves. Jesus manifests this in the miracle recounted in the Gospel, when He calms the storm, commanding the wind and the sea (cfr Mk. 4,41). The disciples are afraid because they realize that they will not make it, but He opens their hearts to the courage of faith. In front of the man who shouts: “I can’t do it anymore”, the Lord meets him, offers the rock of His love, to which everyone can cling to it assured of not falling. How many times we feel that we can’t do it anymore! But He is near us, with His outstretched hand and open heart.

Dear brothers and sisters of Turin and Piemonte, our ancestors knew well what it means to be a “rock”, what “strength” means.

Our famous poet gives a beautiful witness: “Straight and true, what they are, they appear: square heads, steady hand and healthy liver, speak little but they know what they say, even if they walk slowly go away. People who do not save time and sweat - Our local race free and stubborn - The whole world knows who they are and, as they pass ... the world looks at them.”

We may ask if today we are firm on this rock that is the love of God. How ever live the faithful love of God towards us. There is always the risk of forgetting that great love that the Lord has shown us. Even we Christians run the risk of letting ourselves be paralyzed by fears of the future and to look for security in things that pass, or on a model of a closed society that tends to exclude more than include. Many Saints and Blesseds who grew up in this land have received the love of God and spread it around the world, free and stubborn Saints. In the footsteps of these witnesses, we too can also live the joy of the Gospel by practicing mercy; we can share the difficulties of so many people, of families, especially those who are weakest and marked by the economic crisis. Families are in need of feeling the maternal caress of the Church to go forward in married life, in the education of children, in the care of the elderly and also in the transmission of the faith to the younger generations.

Do we believe that the Lord is faithful? How do we live the newness of God that transforms us everyday? How do we live the balanced love of the Lord, that is placed as a secure barrier against the wakes of pride and false innovation? May the Holy Spirit help us to always be aware of this “rocky” love that makes us stable and strong in the small and great sufferings, may we not close ourselves in front of difficulties, to confront life with courage and look to the future with hope. As in the Sea of Galilee, also today the sea of our existence, Jesus is He who overcomes the forces of evil and the threats of desperation. The peace that He gives us is for all; also for so many brothers and sisters who flee from war and persecution in search of peace and freedom.

My dear ones, yesterday you celebrated the Feast of Our Lady of Consolations, la Consola’, “who is there: low and solid, without pomp: like a good Mother.”

Let us entrust to our Mother the civil and ecclesial path of this earth: May She help us to follow the Lord so that we may be faithful, to ourselves be renewed and remain firm in love.


Pope's Angelus Address in Turin

"The Shroud draws [one’s attention] towards the face and the broken body of Jesus and at the same time, it pushes toward the face of every suffering and unjustly persecuted person."

By Staff Reporter

Vatican City State, June 21, 2015

Here is Pope Francis' Angelus address, before and after reciting the Marian prayer, after the Mass he presided over in Piazza Vittorio during his two-day pastoral visit to the Italian city of Turin:


Before Angelus:

At the end of this celebration, our thoughts turn to the Virgin Mary, loving mother and caring towards all her children whom Jesus entrusted to Her on the Cross, while He offered Himself in the act of greatest love. The icon of this love is the Shroud, which also, this time, has attracted so many people here to Turin. The Shroud draws [one’s attention] towards the face and the broken body of Jesus and at the same time, it pushes toward the face of every suffering and unjustly persecuted person. It pushes in the direction of the gift of Jesus' love. "The love of Christ impels us": these words of St. Paul served as  the motto of St Giuseppe Benedetto Cottolengo.

Recalling the apostolic zeal of many holy priests of this land, starting from Don Bosco, of whom, we recall the bicentennial of his birth, I greet you priests and religious with gratitude. You strongly commit yourselves to your pastoral work and are close to the people and their problems. I encourage you to pursue your ministry with joy, always focusing on what is essential in proclaiming the Gospel. And as I thank you, Brother Bishops of Piedmont, for your presence, I urge you to be close to your priests with fatherly affection.

To the Holy Virgin, I entrust this city and its territory and those who live there, so they can live in justice, peace and fraternity. In particular, I entrust families, the young, the elderly, prisoners and all the suffering, with a special thought for leukemia patients in today's National Day Against Leukemia, Lymphoma and Myeloma. May Mary Consolata, queen of Turin and Piedmont, make your faith and your hope firm and your charity fruitful and certain, to be "salt and light" of this blessed land, of which I am a grandson.

After Angelus:

And please do not forget to pray for me.


Pope Francis’ Address at Waldensian Temple

“On behalf of the Catholic Church I ask you forgiveness for the non-Christian attitudes and behavior, even inhuman that, in history, we have had against you. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, forgive us!”

By Staff Reporter

Turin, June 22, 2015

The Holy Father left the Archbishopric this morning and went by car to the Waldensian Temple of Turin.

Pope Francis was received at the entrance of the Temple by the Moderator of the Waldensian Table, Pastor Eugenio Bernardini; by the President of the Consistory of the Waldensian Evangelical Church of Turin, Doctor Sergio Velluto, and by the titular of the Waldensian Evangelical Church of Turin, Pastor Paolo Ribet.

Then, after the greeting addresses of Pastor Paolo Ribet and Pastor Eugenio Bernardini, the Holy Father delivered the address we translate below.

* * *

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

With great joy I find myself among you today. I greet you all with the words of the Apostle Paul: “To you, who are of God the Father and of the Lord Jesus Christ, we wish grace and peace” (1 Thessalonians 1 -- Inter-confessional translation in current language). In particular, I greet the Moderator of the Waldensian Table, Reverend Pastor Eugenio Bernardini, and the Pastor of this community of Turin, Reverend Paolo Ribet, to whom I express my heartfelt gratitude for the invitation that they so kindly addressed to me. The cordial welcome you have given me today makes me think of the meetings with the friends of the Waldensian Evangelical Church of the River Plate, whose spirituality and faith I was able to appreciate, and learn so many good things.

One of the main fruits, which the Ecumenical Movement has already made it possible to gather in these years, is the discovery of the fraternity that unites all those that believe in Jesus Christ and have been baptized in his name. This bond is not based on simply human criteria, but on the radical sharing of the founding experience of Christian life: the encounter with the love of God that is revealed to us in Jesus Christ and the transforming action of the Holy Spirit who assists us in the journey of life. The rediscovery of this fraternity enables us to accept the profound bond that already unites us, despite our differences. It is a communion that is still underway, which, with prayer, with continuous personal and community conversion and with the help of theologians, we hope that, confident in the action of the Holy Spirit, will be able to become full and visible communion in truth and in charity.

Unity, which is fruit of the Holy Spirit, does not mean uniformity. Brothers, in fact, are united by the same origin but are not identical among themselves. This is very clear in the New Testament where, although all those who share the same faith in Jesus Christ are called brethren, one intuits that not all the Christian communities, of which they were a part, had the same style, or an identical internal organization. In fact, within the small community itself different charisms could be distinguished (cf. 1 Corinthians 12-14) and even in the proclamation of the Gospel there were diferences and sometimes arguments (cf. Acts 15:36-40). Unfortunately, it happened and continues to happen that brothers do not accept their differences and end by warring against one another. Reflecting on the history of our relations, we cannot but be saddened in face of the contentions and violence committed in the name of the faith itself, and I ask the Lord that he may give us the grace to recognize ourselves all sinners and to be able to forgive one another. It is by the initiative of God, who is never resigned in face of man’s sin, that new sways are opened to live our fraternity, and we cannot subtract ourselves from this. On behalf of the Catholic Church I ask you forgiveness for the non-Christian attitudes and behavior, even inhuman that, in history, we have had against you. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, forgive us!

Therefore we are profoundly grateful to the Lord in seeing that today the relations between Catholics and Waldensians are increasingly founded on mutual respect and fraternal charity. The occasions are not few that have contributed to render these relations more solid. I am thinking, to mention some examples, of the collaboration for the publication in Italian  of an inter-confessional translation of the Bible, of the pastoral agreements for the celebration of marriage and, more recently, of the writing of a joint appeal against violence to women. Among the many cordial contacts in different local contexts, where prayer and the study of the Scriptures is shared, I would like to recall the ecumenical exchange of gifts carried out, on the occasion of Easter, at Pinerolo, by the Waldensian Church of Pinerolo and by the Diocese. The Waldensian Church offered Catholics the wine for the celebration of the Easter Vigil and the Catholic Diocese offered Waldensian brethren the bread for the Holy Supper of Easter Sunday. It is a gesture that goes well beyond simple courtesy and makes us look forward, for certain verses, to the unity of the Eucharistic table for which we long.

Encouraged by the steps, we are called to continue to walk together. A realm in which ample possibilities of collaboration opens between Waldensians and Catholics is that of evangelization. Aware that the Lord has preceded us and always precedes us in love (cf. 1 John 4:10), we go together to encounter the men and women of today, who sometimes seem so distracted and indifferent, to transmit to them the heart of the Gospel, namely, “the beauty of the salvific love of God manifested in Jesus Christ dead and risen” (Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium, 36). Another realm in which we can work increasingly united is that of service to suffering humanity, to the poor, the sick and migrants. Stemming from the liberating work of grace in each one of us is the need to witness the merciful face of God who takes care of all and, in particular, those who are in need. The choice of the poor, of the least, of those that society excludes, bring us closer to the very heart of God, who made himself poor to enrich us with his poverty (cf. 2 Corinthians 8:9), and, consequently, brings us closer to one another. The differences on important anthropological and ethical questions, which continue to exist between Catholics and Waldensians, do not impede us from finding ways of collaboration in these and other fields. If we walk together, the Lord will help us to live that communion that precedes all argument.

Dear brothers and sisters, I thank you again for this meeting, which I hope to confirm us in a new way of being with one another: looking first of all at the grandeur of our common faith and of our life in Christ and in the Holy Spirit and, only afterwards, the differences that still subsist. I assure you of my remembrance in prayer and I ask you, please, to pray for me. May the Lord grant all of us his mercy and his peace.

[Original text: Italian]


Text of Pope's Prepared Address to Turin Young People

Do you succeed in having your friendship with Jesus “shine” in your attitudes, in your way of behaving?

By Staff Reporter

Turin, June 22, 2015

Here is a translation of the address Pope Francis prepared for his meeting Sunday evening with youth in Turin. He did not deliver his prepared speech, instead speaking off-the-cuff to the young people for about a half hour.

* * *

Dear Young People,

I thank you for this warm welcome! And thank you for your questions, which take us to the heart of the Gospel.

The first, on love, questions us on the meaning of God’s profound love, offered to us by the Lord Jesus. He shows us to what point love goes: to the total gift of himself, to giving his own life, as we contemplate in the mystery of the Shroud, when we recognize in it the icon of the “greatest love.” However, this gift of ourselves must not be imagined as a rare heroic gesture or reserved to some exceptional occasion. In fact, we could run the risk of singing of love, of dreaming of love, of applauding love ... without letting ourselves be touched and involved in it! The grandeur of love is revealed in taking care of one in need, with fidelity and patience; therefore, great is the love that is able to make itself little for others, like Jesus, who made himself a servant. To love is to come close, to touch the flesh of Christ in the poor and the least, to open to God’s grace the needs, the appeals, the solitude of persons that surround us. Then the love of God enters, transforms and render little things great, it renders them the sign of his presence. Saint John Bosco is in fact a teacher to us because of his capacity to love and to educate from proximity, which he lived with youngsters and young people.

In the light of this transformation, fruit of love, we can answer the second question, on mistrust in life. The lack of work and of prospects for the future certainly contributes to halt the movement of life itself, putting many on the defensive: to think of themselves, to manage time and resources for their own good, to limit the risks of any generosity ... They are all symptoms of a withholding of life, preserved at all costs and that, in the end, can also lead to resignation and cynicism. Instead, Jesus teaches us to follow the opposite way: “whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it” (Luke 9:24). This means that we must not wait for favorable external circumstances to really get involved but that, on the contrary, only by committing our life – aware of losing it! – we create for others and for ourselves the conditions of new trust in the future. And here my thought goes spontaneously to a youth who truly spent his life this way, so much so as to become a model of trust and evangelical audacity for the young generations of Italy and of the world: Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati. His motto was: “Live, not live poorly!” This is the way to experience fully the strength and joy of the Gospel. In this way, not only will you find trust in the future, but you will succeed in generating hope among your friends and in the environments in which you live.

Friendship was a great passion of Pier Giorgio Frassati. And your third question stated in fact: how can friendship be lived in an open way, capable of transmitting the joy of the Gospel? I learned that this Square in which we find ourselves, is much frequented by young people on Friday and Saturday evenings. It happens the same way in all our cities and countries. I think that some of you also meet here or in other Squares with your friends. And now I ask you a question -- each one think and answer it within himself --: in those moments, when you are in company, do you succeed in having your friendship with Jesus “shine” in your attitudes, in your way of behaving? Do you sometimes think, also in your free time, in relaxation, that you are little shoots attached to the vine that is Jesus? I assure you that thinking of this reality with faith, you will feel running in you the “lymph” of the Holy Spirit, and you will bear fruit, almost without realizing it: you will be able to be courageous, patient, humble, capable of sharing but also of differentiating yourselves, to rejoice with those who rejoice, and to weep with those who weep; you will be able to love those who do not love you, respond to evil with good. And thus you will proclaim the Gospel!

Turin’s men and women Saints teach us that all renewal, also that of the Church, passes through our personal conversion, through that openness of heart that receives and recognizes God’s surprises, driven by the greatest love (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:14), which renders us friends also of persons who are alone, suffering and marginalized.

Dear young people, together with these older brothers and sisters that the Saints are, in the Church’s family we have a Mother, let us not forget it! I hope you will entrust yourselves fully to this tender Mother, who indicated the presence of the “greatest love” precisely amid young people, at a wedding celebration. Our Lady “is the always attentive friend so that wine will not be lacking in our life” (Apostolic Exhortation Eveangelii gaudium, 286). Let us pray that the wine of joy will not be lacking to us!

Thank you all. May God bless you all. And please, pray for me.

[Original text: Italian]


Pope’s Address to the Sick and Disabled in Turin

“You are the flesh of Christ crucified that we have the honor to touch and to serve with love”

By Staff Reporter

Turin, June 22, 2015

Here is a translation of the address Pope Francis gave Sunday evening when he met with the sick and the disabled in Turin’s church of the Little House of Divine Providence, known as the “Cottolengo,” from the name of its founder, Giuseppe Benedetto Cottolengo.

After greeting and blessing the sick present individually, the Pope gave the address that we translate below.

* * *

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I could not come to Turin without stopping in this House: the Little House of Divine Providence, founded almost two centuries ago by Saint Giuseppe Benedetto Cottolengo. Inspired in the merciful love of God the Father and trusting totally in His Providence, he took in poor, abandoned and sick people who could not be received in the hospitals of that time.

The exclusion of the poor and the difficulty of the indigent to receive assistance and the necessary care is a situation that, unfortunately, is also present today. Great progress has been made in medicine and in social care, however a throwaway culture has also spread, as a consequence of an anthropological crisis that no longer puts man but consumption and economic interests at the center (Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium, 52-53).

Among the victims of this disposable culture I would like to remember here the elderly, numerous of whom are received in this House -- the elderly who are the memory and wisdom of peoples. Their longevity is not always seen as a gift of God, but sometimes as a weight that is difficult to sustain, especially when their health is strongly compromised. This mentality does not do good to society, and it is our task to develop “anti-bodies” against this way of regarding the elderly or persons with disabilities, as if they were lives no longer worthy of being lived. This is sin; it is a grave social sin. Instead, with what tenderness the Cottolengo has loved these persons! Here we can learn another way of looking at life and at the human person!

The Cottolengo has meditated long on the evangelical page of Jesus’ Last Judgment, Matthew’s chapter 25. And it has not remained deaf to Jesus’ appeals to be fed, quenched, clothed and visited. Pushed by the charity of Christ, it began a Work of charity in which the Word of God has demonstrated all its fruitfulness (cf. Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium, 233). From him we can learn the concreteness of evangelical love, so that many poor and sick can find a “house,” live as in a family, feel that they belong to the community and not excluded and endured.

Dear sick brothers, you are precious members of the Church; you are the flesh of Christ crucified that we have the honor to touch and to serve with love. With Jesus’ grace you can be witnesses and apostles of the Divine Mercy that saves the world. Looking at Christ crucified, full of love for us, and also with the help of all those who take care of you, may you find the strength and consolation to carry your cross every day.

The raison d’etre of this Little House is not welfarism or philanthropy but the Gospel: the Gospel of the love of Christ is the force that gave it birth and makes it go forward: Jesus’ love of predilection for the most fragile and weak. This is at the center. Therefore, a work such as this does not go forward without prayer, which is the first and most important work of the Little House, as your Founder loved to repeat (cf. Detti e pensieri, n. 24), and as the six convents of Sisters of contemplative life demonstrate, which are linked to the Work itself

I want to thank the Sisters, the consecrated Brothers and the Priests present here at Turin and in your Houses scattered throughout the world. Together with the many lay workers, the volunteers and the “Friends of Cottolengo,” you are called to continue the mission of this great Saint of charity with creative fidelity. His charism is fecund, as demonstrated also by the Blesseds Don Francesco Paleari and Friar Luigi Bordino, as well as the Servant of God Sister Maria Carola Cecchin, missionary.

May the Holy Spirit give you always the strength and the courage to follow their example and to witness joyfully the charity of Christ that drives one to serve the weakest, thus contributing to the growth of the Kingdom of God and of a more hospitable and fraternal world.

I bless you all. May Our Lady protect you. And, please, do not forget to pray for me.

[Original text: Italian]

 [At the end of his meeting with the sick, the Holy Father went to the inner courtyard and greeted all those who did not find a place in the church and he spoke the following words off-the-cuff:]

I greet you all, my heartfelt greeting to you! I thank you so much, so much for what you do for the sick, for the elderly and for what you do with tenderness, with so much love. I thank you so much and I ask you to pray for me, pray for the Church, pray for the children that are learning the catechism, pray for the children who are making their First Communion, pray for the parents, for the families, but from here pray for the Church, pray that the Lord may send priests, send Sisters, to do this work -- so much work! And now we pray together to Our Lady and then I will give you the blessing. {Hail Mary}

[The Pope then left the Cottolengo and went by car to Piazza Vittorio for his meeting with young people.]


Pope’s Off-the-Cuff Address to Youth of Turin

“How can I trust life? What can I do, how can I live a life that doesn’t destroy, that isn’t a life of destruction, a life that doesn’t dispose of people? How can I live a life that won’t disappoint me?”

By Staff Reporter

Turin, June 22, 2015

Here is a translation of the address Francis gave when he met with youngsters and young people gathered in Vittorio Square in Turin on Sunday evening.

After the greeting of two leaders, the large World Youth Day (WYD) Cross was received. Then, responding to the questions posed by three youths, Pope Francis gave an off-the-cuff address.

Here is a translation of the Holy Father’s extemporaneous address; the transcription was provided by the Vatican.

* * *

Thank you to Chiara, Sara and Luigi. Thank you because the questions are on the subject of the three words of John’s Gospel that we heard: love, life, friends. Three words that are intertwined in John’s text, and one explains the other: one cannot speak of life in the Gospel without speaking of love – if we speak of true life -- and one cannot speak of love without this transformation from servants to friends. And these three words are so important for life but all three have a common root: the desire to live. And I permit myself to recall here the words of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, a youth like you: “To live, not to live poorly!” To live!

You know that it is awful to see a youth “still,” who lives, but he lives as  -- allow me the word – as a vegetable: he does things, but his life is not a life that moves, it is still. But know that it makes me very sad at heart to see young people retire at 20! Yes, they grow old soon ... Therefore, when Chiara asked that question on love: what makes a youth not retire is the desire to love, the desire to give what is most beautiful of man, and that God has, which is most beautiful, because the definition that John gives of God is “God is love.” And when a youth loves, lives, grows, he does not retire. He grows, grows, grows and gives.

But what is love? “Is it the soap opera, Father? What we see in TV novels?” Some think that that is love. It is so good to speak of love, very beautiful, beautiful, beautiful things can be said. However, love has two axes on which it pivots, and if a person, a youth doesn’t have these two axes -- these two dimensions of love -- it’s not love. First of all, love is more in works than in words: love is concrete. Two hours ago I spoke to the Salesian Family of the concreteness of its vocation – And I see that they feel themselves young because they are here in front! They feel young! Love is concrete, it is more in works than in words. It’s not love just to say: “I love you, I love all people.” No. What do you do for love? Love gives itself. Think that God began to speak of love when he was involved with his people, when He chose his people, He made a Covenant with his people, He saved his people, He forgave so many times -- God has so much patience! -- He did, He did gestures of love, works of love.

And the second dimension, the second axis on which love pivots is that love always communicates itself, that is, love listens and responds, love is made in dialogue, in communion: it communicates itself. Love is neither deaf nor mute, it communicates. These two dimensions are very useful to understand what love is, which is not a romantic sentiment of the moment or a story, no. It’s concrete, it’s in the works. And it communicates itself, that is, it is always in dialogue.

So Chiara, I will answer your question: “Often we feel disappointed in love. In what does the greatness of Jesus’ love consist? How can we experience his love?” And now, I know that you are good and will permit me to speak sincerely. I don’t want to be a moralist but I would like to say a word that does not please, an unpopular word. Sometimes the Pope must also risk things to say the truth. Love is in the works, in communicating, but love is very respectful of persons, it does not use persons, that is, love is chaste. And to you young people in this world, in this hedonistic world, in this world where only pleasure gets publicity, having a good time, having a beautiful life, I tell you: be chaste, be chaste.

All of us in life have gone through moments in which this virtue was very difficult, but it is in fact the way of genuine love, of a love that is able to give life, which does not seek to use the other for one’s own pleasure. It is a love that considers the life of the other person sacred: “I respect you, I don’t want to use you, I don’t want to use you.” It’s not easy. We all know the difficulties in surmounting the “easy” and hedonistic conception of love. Forgive me if I say something you didn’t expect, but I ask you: make the effort to live love chastely.

And from this we draw a consequence: if love is respectful, if love is in works, if love is in communicating, love sacrifices itself for others. Look at the love of parents, of so many mothers, of so many fathers who in the morning arrive at work tired because they haven’t slept well to look after their sick child – this is love! This is respect. This is not having a good time. This is – we go to another key word – this is “service.” Love is service. It is to serve others. When after the washing of the feet Jesus explained the gesture to the Apostles, he taught that we are made to serve one another, and if I say that I love but don’t serve the other, don’t help the other, don’t make him go forward, don’t sacrifice myself for him, this isn’t love. You have carried the Cross [the WYD Cross]: there is the sign of love. That history of love of God involved in works and dialogue, with respect, with forgiveness, with patience during so many centuries of history with His people, ends there -- his Son on the Cross, the greatest service, which is to give one’s life, to sacrifice oneself, to help others. It’s not easy to speak of love, it’s not easy to live love. However, with these things that I have answered, Chiara, I think I’ve helped you in something, in the questions you asked me. I don’t know, I hope they will be useful to you.

And thanks to you, Sara, passionate about theater. Thank you. “I think of Jesus’ words: To give one’s life.” We spoke about this now. “Often we breathe a sense of mistrust in life.” Yes, because there are situations that make us think: “But, is it worthwhile to live like this? What can I expect from this life?” We think, in this way, of wars. Sometimes I have said that we are living the Third World War, but in pieces. In pieces: there is war in Europe, there is war in Africa, there is war in the Middle East, there is war in other countries ... But, can I have confidence in such a life? Can I trust the world leaders? When I go to give my vote for a candidate, can I trust that he won’t lead my country into war? If you only trust men, you have lost!

It makes me think one thing: people, leaders, entrepreneurs that call themselves Christians, and produce arms! This gives some mistrust: they call themselves Christians! “No, no, Father, I don’t produce them, no, no .... I only have my savings, my investments in arms factories.” Ah! And why? “Because the interest is somewhat higher ...” And a double face is also a current coin today: to say something and do another. Hypocrisy ...l But let’s see what happened in the last century: in ’14, ’15, in ’15 in fact. There was that great tragedy in Armenia. So many died. I don’t know the figure: more than a million certainly. But where were the great powers of the time? Were they looking elsewhere? Why? Because they were interested in war: their war! And those that died were persons, second class human beings. Then, in the 30s and 40s the tragedy of the Shoah. The great powers had photographs of the railroad lines that took trains to the concentration camps, such as Auschwitz, to kill the Jews, and also Christians, also the Roma, also homosexuals, to kill them there. But tell me, why didn’t they bomb that? Interest! And shortly after, almost contemporaneously, were the lager in Russia: Stalin ... How many Christians suffered, were killed! The great powers divided Europe among themselves as a cake. So many years had to pass before arriving at “certain” freedom. It’s that hypocrisy of speaking of peace and producing arms, and even selling arms to this one who is at war with that one, and to that one who is at war with this one!

I understand what you say about mistrust in life, also today when we are living in the throwaway culture, because whatever is not of economic usefulness is discarded. Children are disposed of, because they are not developed or because they are killed before they are born; the elderly are disposed of, because they are not useful or are left there, to die, a sort of hidden euthanasia, and they are not helped to live; and now young people are disposed of: think of that 40% of young people who are without work. It is in fact a rejection! But why? Why are man and woman not at the center of the global economic system, as God wants, but the god of money. And everything is done for money.

In Spanish, there is a good saying that says: “the monkey dances for money.” I translate: For money, the monkey also dances. And thus, with this disposable culture, can one trust life? -- with that sense of challenge that widens, widens, widens? A youth who can’t study, who hasn’t work, who has the shame of not feeling worthy because he doesn’t have work, doesn’t earn his life. But how many times these young people end in addictions? How many times do they commit suicide? The statistics on the suicides of young people are not well known. Or how often these young people go to fight with terrorists, at least to do something, for an ideal. I understand this challenge. And because of this Jesus told us not to put our security in riches, in worldly powers. How can I trust life? What can I do, how can I live a life that doesn’t destroy, that isn’t a life of destruction, a life that doesn’t dispose of people? How can I live a life that won’t disappoint me?

And I pass to answer Luigi’s question: he spoke of a project of sharing, namely of connection, of construction. We must go ahead with our plans of construction, and this life doesn’t disappoint. If you get involved there, in a project of construction, of help – we think of street children, of migrants, of so many in need, but not only to give them to eat one day, two days, but to promote them with education, with unity in the joy of the Oratories and so many things, but things that build, then that sense of mistrust in life recedes, goes away. What must I do for this? Not retire too soon. Do. Do. And I’ll say a word: to go against the current, to go against the current. For you, young people, who are living this economic situation, which is also cultural, hedonistic, consumerist with “soap bubble” values, with such values one doesn’t go forward. Do constructive things, even if they are small, but which bring us together, which bring us together with our ideals: this is the best antidote against this mistrust of life, against this culture that only offers you pleasure: to have a good time, to have money and not think of other things.

Thank you for the questions. To you, Luigi, I have answered you in part, no? Go against the current, namely, be courageous and creative, be creative. Last summer I received, one afternoon -- it was August ... Rome was dead -- a group of boys and girls had spoken to me on the telephone who were camping in several cities of Italy, and they came to me -- I told them to come -- but poor things, all dirty, tired ... but joyful! Because they had done something “against the current!”

So often advertising wants to convince us that this is good, that that is good, and it makes us believe that they are “diamonds”; but be careful, we are sold glass! And we must go against this, not be naive. Not buy filth that we are told are diamonds.

And to end, I would like to repeat Pier Giorgio Frassati’s word: if you want to do something good in life, live, don’t live poorly. Live!

But you are intelligent and will surely say to me: “But, Father, you speak this way because you are in the Vatican, have so many Monsignors there that do your work, you are tranquil and don’t know what everyday life is ...” Yes, someone could think so. The secret is to understand well where one lives. On this earth – and I also said this to the Salesian Family -- at the end of the 19th century there were bad conditions for the growth of youth: there was full Masonry, even the Church couldn’t do anything, there were priest haters, there were also Satanists ... It was one of the worst moments and one of the worst places of the history of Italy. However, if you would like to do a good task at home, go to see how many men and women Saints were born at that time. Why? Because they realized that they had to go against the current in relation to the culture, to that way of living. Reality, live the reality. And if this reality is glass and not diamonds, I look for the reality against the current and I make my reality, but something that is of service to others. Think of your Saints of this land, what they did!

And thank you, thank you, thank you so much! Always love, life, friends. However, these words can only be lived by “going out”: always going out to take something. If you stay still, you won’t do anything in life and you will ruin your own.

I forgot to tell you that I will now deliver the written address. I knew your questions, and I wrote something on your questions; but it’s not what I said, this came to me from my heart; and I give the address to the one in charge, and you make it public [he handed the sheets to the priest in charge of youth pastoral care]. There are so many university students here, but be careful of believing that the University is only to study with the head: to be a University student also means to go out, to go out in service, to the poor especially! Thank you.