We begin in Rome today with a quick summary of the Pope’s message to those who gathered to pray the Angelus with him yesterday at St.Peter’s Square
"To know Jesus", the Pope said, "one must gaze upon the Cross." He reflected on the death of Jesus, as the supreme act of love. "The Cross is not simply a decoration, much less a fashion accessory. It is instead, a religious sign to contemplate and comprehend. The image of a crucified Jesus reveals the death of the Son of God, as the supreme act of love, a fountain of life and of salvation for humanity for all time.”
Also this weekend, Pope Francis made a visit on Saturday to the southern Italian town, where St. Padre Pio was born and lived his life of service.
This visit to the south of Italy marks the 50th anniversary of St. Padre Pio’s death, and the 100th year of the appearance of the saint’s visible stigmata. Included in the many stops central to Padre Pio's life, was the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, where the Pope prayed at the tomb of the popular Italian saint. He also visited young patients of the pediatric ward of Padre Pio’s hospital in San Giovanni Rotondo.
Today marks the first day of the pre-synod meetings where over 300 young people from all over the world, convened in Rome to have a frank conversation with the Pope about the future of the Catholic church.
During these meetings, which run from March 19-24, the Pope will listen to the voices of young people, their doubts and criticisms included. Opening the sessions today, the Pope said that, “Too often we talk about young people without asking what they think. There are those,” he said, “ who tend to idolize youth and others who prefer to keep young people at a safe distance, rather than allowing them to be the protagonists of their own futures."
These meetings are in preparation for the upcoming Synod of Bishops on Young People which will help the Pope and the Bishops to come up with ways for the Church to attract and keep the youth close to the Church. We had a chance to talk to some of the delegates in Rome about what their expectations are for these Pre-Synod meetings.
That is all that we have time for today. Join us again tomorrow, when I bring you more news and stories from the Perspective of a Catholic Lens.