POPE TO CHILDREN: YOU CAN BEST FOLLOW JESUS BY BRINGING HIM JOY

I posted yesterday about the five new cardinals named by Pope Francis at the Regina Coeli so no need to review that today. However, I want to tell you about his other big moment of the day – a visit to a parish outside of Rome. I think you’ll really enjoy his dialogue with young childten so offer Vatican Radio’s transcript of that event.

This afternoon I was briefly in Pza. Pio XII, the small piazza just in front of and adjacent to St. Peter’s Square. The Vatican has been busy preparing for the president’s visit to Pope Francis and the Vatican Wednesday morning. Platforms are going up in Pza. Pio XII for the media, some streets already have parking restrictions and that will get a lot worse by tomorrow evening.

Stay tuned –

POPE TO CHILDREN: YOU CAN BEST FOLLOW JESUS BY BRINGING HIM JOY

Sunday, after his surprise announcement at the Regina Coeli that he will create five new cardinals on June 28, Pope Francis went to the parish of San Pier Damiani ai Monti di San Paolo in Casal Bernocchi, Acilia, south of Rome. He was accompanied to a sports center where, as he usually does on parish visits, he met with children, young adults awaiting confirmation and youth who attend the center.

At about 4:15 pm he went directly to the parish where he greeted the sick, the Neocatechumenal community and the poor people assisted by the diocesan Caritas. Before celebrating Mass at 5:55 pm, the Pope confessed four penitents At Mass he delivered an off-the-cuff homily.

Following is the English transcript from Vatican Radio of the Q&A session the Pope had with children at the Sports Center :

Pope Francis, I would like to ask you what sport you practised at my age – I am 11. I would also like to know if you played football and, if so, in which position.

Pope Francis: When I was your age, I played soccer, but I wasn’t ‘bravo’ at playing soccer, and where I come from, they call you ‘pata dura,’ ‘stiff leg.’I was a ‘pata dura’ and that’s why I usually was the goalie, so I wouldn’t have to move around. It is not a curse, this, you can say it: pata dura , it is not a swear word.

Child: What can we do to help the world?

Pope Francis : It is a good question! You asked this: “What can we do to save, to help”. You said “to save the world”. But the world is large! Can a child – think, think carefully before answering – can a boy, a child, a girl, help in the salvation of the world? Can he or she do this, or not?

Children : He can’t…

Pope Francis : Can’t he do anything? Don’t you count at all? Can you or not?

Children : Yes, we can!

Pope Francis : Good! A bit louder, I can’t hear…

Children : [shouting] Yes, we can!
Pope Francis : And I would like to hear you, which of you is the best at answering this question. Think carefully: how can I help Jesus to save the world? How can I help Jesus to save the world? Raise your hands, those of you who want to answer. … Raise your hand if you want to answer. [Someone says: “With prayer”]. With prayer can we help Jesus to save the world? Can we, or not?

Children : We can!

Pope Francis : But what is happening? Are you all asleep?

Children : No! Pope Francis : Ah, the sun… the sun sends us to sleep. With prayer. Very good. Another thing. You…

Child : Respecting people.

Pope Francis : Respecting people. And people, should they be respected?

Children : Yes!

Pope Francis : Dad, mother, grandfather, grandmother: are they to be respected?

Children : Yes!

Pope Francis : And the people we do not know, are they to be respected?

Children : Yes!

Pope Francis : And the people who live on the street, the homeless, are they to be respected?

Children : Yes!

Pope Francis : Yes. Everyone, all people are to be respected. Shall we say it together?

Pope and children : All people are to be respected!

Pope Francis : And a person who isn’t good to me, must I respect him?

Children : Yes!

Pope Francis : Are you sure?

Children : Yes!

Pope Francis : But wouldn’t it be better just to give him a slap?

Children : No!

Pope Francis : Really?

Children : Yes.

Pope Francis : Good: even a person who is not good to me must be respected.

Pope and children : Even a person who is not good to me must be respected.

Pope Francis : And a person who has done me harm, think carefully about this: what must I do? If a person has done harm to me, can I do harm to him?

Children : No!

Pope Francis : No. It is not nice. Can I telephone the mafia to ask them to do something?

Children : No…

Pope Francis : You aren’t convinced… Can we do this?

Children : No!

Pope Francis : Can we make agreements with the mafia?

Children : No!

Pope Francis : No! Even those [who do harm] must be respected. You have answered well. You see in how many ways we can help Jesus save the world. And this is good, it is very good! And if I have done my homework and my mother lets me go out and play with my friends, or have a match, is this good?

Children : Yes!

Pope Francis : Playing – think hard – playing, playing well, does this help Jesus save the world?

Children : Yes…

Pope Francis : You are not convinced…

Children : Yes!
Pope Francis : Yes! Because joy helps Jesus save the world. Let us all say it together.

Children : Joy helps Jesus save the world

Pope Francis : Joy is something very beautiful, very beautiful. You, today, are you joyful?

Children : Yes!

Pope Francis : Yes? Are you joyful?

Children : Yes!

Pope Francis : And this is very good. And I think that with this I have answered to “what can I do to help Jesus save the world?”. And so think about it, later, always. Another question was: how did I become aware of my vocation. Every person has a place in life. Jesus wants one person to get married, to have a family; he wants another to be a priest, another to be a nun… But each one of us has a path in life. And for the majority it is for them to be like you, to be like everyone, to be like your parents: lay faithful who have a beautiful family, who raise their children, who make faith grow. … And I was in a family: we were five brothers and sisters and we were happy. Father went to work, and came home from work – in that time there was work – and we played. Once – this will make you laugh, but do not do what I am telling you! – we had a competition to play at being parachutists, and we took an umbrella and went onto the terrace, and one of my brothers was the first to jump off, down from the terrace. He survived, only just! These are dangerous games. But we were happy. Why? Because father and mother helped us to get along, at school, and they were also concerned with us. It is very good, very good. Listen well: it is very good in life to be married, it is very good. And it is very good to have a family, a father and a mother, to have grandparents, aunts and uncles. Do you understand? It is very good, it is a grace. And each one of you has parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, a family. And why don’t we greet them now? Let’s applaud them, all of them [applause]. Your parents make sacrifices for you, to let you grow, and this is a good thing, a beautiful vocation: having a family. But there is another vocation: being a nun, being a priest. And one day I felt – all of a sudden – I was sixteen and I felt that the Lord wanted me to be a priest. And here I am! I am a priest. This is the answer. You feel it in your heart: when a boy feels warmth in his heart, and then that warmth goes further, and he feels love for a girl, and then they get engaged and then they marry, that is what it is like in your heart when the Lord says to you: “You must go ahead on the path to become a priest”.  And that is what I felt. Just as we feel the good things in life. Because it is a beautiful thing! Do you understand? Good, you must be tired of staying here, the sun is strong.

Children : No!

Pope Francis : Now there is a bit of a breeze, but… I don’t remember: if someone is not good to me, must I give him a slap?

Children : No!

Pope Francis : Ah, I had forgotten. And must I pray for the people who hate me?

Children : Yes!

Pope Francis : Yes, yes: pray for those who are not good to me, for this… I must pray. And must I be obedient to my mother and father?

Children : Yes!

Pope Francis : I, or my neighbour?

Children : Everyone!

Pope Francis : Ah, everyone! Someone said “I”.

Children : I!

Pope Francis : I must obey my mother and father: everyone!

Children : I must obey my mother and father.

Pope Francis : It is very important, because they make sacrifices for us. Do you understand?

Children : Yes.

Pope Francis : Very good. And now, what shall we do?

Well, let us pray. In the first question we spoke about prayer. Now let us pray for each other. Everyone, hold hands. Like brothers, like friends. Hold each other by the hand. And let us pray to Our Lady, who is our Mother: Ave O Maria… And now I will give the blessing to all of you. In silence, each one of you, think of your parents, of your relatives, your friends; think also of your enemies, of the people who hate you or do not wish you well. And may this blessing descend upon them too, upon everyone. [Blessing] Thank you!

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