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Pope in Chile: to young people, always be “connected” to Jesus


Santiago de Chile (AsiaNews) – Being “connected” with Jesus, behaving “as he would” in the different situations of life. This is the invitation that Pope Francis addressed to young Chileans, 40 thousand of whom met with him in the Maipù sanctuary, in Santiago (in the photo).

A meeting full of enthusiasm – and which gave the Pope the opportunity to reflect on the similarity between the “connection” of mobile phones, “essential” for young people today, and that with Jesus. It was followed by a visit to the Pontifical Catholic University, which he invited to “generate processes” that illuminate the current culture proposing a renewed humanism that avoids falling into any kind of reductionism “.

“God – he told the young – puts dreams of freedom, dreams of joy, dreams of a better future in your heart “, the desire to “be the protagonists of change”. “And taking into account the whole reality of young people, I wanted to hold a Synod this year and, before the Synod, a gathering of young people so they can feel and be protagonists in the heart of the Church; to help us ensure that the Church has a young face, certainly not because it treats itself with regenerating creams, but because from the bottom of its heart it lets itself be questioned, lets itself be questioned by its children in order to be more faithful to the Gospel every day. How greatly the Chilean Church needs you, to ‘shake us’ and help us to be closer to Jesus “.

Francis reflected on the importance of always being connected online for young people today, so they don’t feel out of touch, disoriented, in a bad mood. With faith it is the same, “when we remain without this ‘connection’ that gives life to our dreams, the heart begins to lose strength”.

He also indicated Saint Albert Hurtado as a mode to the youth of Chile. The Jesuit priest had a simple rule and that the Pope urged the young people to “memorize” like they do with passwords. “Hurtado’s password was very simple – if you want I’d like you to stick to your cell phones. He asked himself: “What would Christ do in my place?” At school, at university, on the street, at home, with friends, at work; in front of those who are bullies: ‘What would Christ do in my place?’. When you go dancing, when you play sports or go to the stadium: ‘What would Christ do in my place?’. This is the password, the charge to ignite our heart, ignite faith and the spark in our eyes. This is what it means to be protagonists of history “.

During the meeting, the Youth Symbol for the Synod was presented to Francis. Then the young people brought the Cross of Chile and gave the Pope a ribbon, a sign of the blood shed by Christ, which Francis placed on the cross

The last appointment of the day was the visit to the Pontifical Catholic University, founded June 21, 1888. In front of hundreds of students and representatives of the Chilean academic world, the Pope said that universities must be laboratories for dialogue and encounter, able to overcome any form of fragmentation in today’s “liquid society”, as defined by the sociologist Zygmunt Bauman, which worries Francis, because “the points of reference are disappearing”.

“Today – he underlined – the mission entrusted to you is prophetic. You are called to generate processes that illuminate the current culture by proposing a renewed humanism that avoids falling into any kind of reductionism. And this prophecy that is asked of us urges us to look for ever new spaces of dialogue rather than confrontation; meeting spaces rather than divisions; roads of friendly discrepancy, because we distinguish ourselves with respect between people who are walking loyally trying to progress in the community towards a renewed national coexistence “.

The Pope then said that the mission of the universities is to be at the “service of national coexistence”, “laboratories” for the future of a country, “overcoming every antagonistic and elitist logic of knowledge”. The invitation is to “always seek new spaces for dialogue rather than confrontation; spaces of encounter rather than division; roads of friendly disagreement “. And in this dynamic and virtuous process, “popular insight” should not be silenced, especially when thinking of the cultural richness of aboriginal communities.

Finally, Francis expressed satisfaction for the “evangelizing effort” and the “joyful vitality” of the university’s pastoral care, “the sign of a young, lively and ‘outgoing Church”.

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