Addresses, Speeches, Homilies 1984

Meeting with young school children

SEPTEMBER  11,   1984

Dear young people,

First, let us observe a moment’s silence to thank God from the bottom of our hearts for the joy of this meeting!

You are happy to be so close to the Pope! Well, I can assure you that the Pope is also very happy to be among you!

You know as well as I that when people, young people like you or older people like me, take the time to meet one another and to show their friendship, simply and sincerely, to help one another as best they can, that is HAPPINESS on earth! It is this fraternity among all the inhabitants of the earth that the Lord desires so strongly. You know that Jesus came and that he remains, mysteriously but truly, among us. He continues to seek this universal brotherhood with us, he brings us together to make us members of his Body.

Of course, no one individual alone can realize this plan for friendship in the world and unity within each country and among all the peoples of the earth. But everyone has to make his or her contribution: a personal, irreplacable [sp] contribution. I know you understand me for I can see it in your young faces.

There are almost three thousand of you young people gathered here in the house of the Lord and you are all different. Some are quiet, others a little more restless; some of you like music and art, others prefer sports; many of you work with all your heart at school while there are others who have less interest and less courage for study; some of you have health problems, while others enjoy good health. Different, yes. But each and every one of you has a place – a unique place – in the heart of the Lord, a role in the vast plan the Lord has for the world.

If Jesus were to meet you here today… but he is here in one way, in the person of the Bishop of Rome, me, the successor of the Apostle Peter -he would say to you again: you must, above all, love one another; that is how you will be recognized as my disciples, as my true friends! Yes, always love one another more.

I am happy to have seen with my own eyes your symbolic gestures of friendship and mutual aid and to have heard you sing your desire to love the other as he is, to love others as they are. I have every confidence that each one of you will, here in Canada and throughout the world, promote friendship in the way Jesus meant it to be: by giving happiness to others every day… by giving one’s life. Through your personal andd [sp] collective efforts, this is happening and will continue to happen. Jesus is always helping you: in prayer, you are very close to him. You meet him in the sacraments he gave to his Church: since baptism you are tied to him; you seek his pardon through Confession and you like to receive him and share his life in the joy of Communion; the sacrament of Confirmation assures you of the gift of the Holy Spirit who bestows hislight and strength on you so that you may grow with the Spirit of Christ in you and take your active place in his Church.

I would like to add one more thing. I know that you all have your place in a family, in a community specially adapted to you, as well as in Christian action movements. Your parents and your teachers give you what you need to live, to grow and to build your future. They understand you, they support you and they give you their affection. So I would ask you to show more confidence, respect and consideration for those who take such good care of you. Thus you will be their joy and thus every day, you will know not only the joy of being loved but the joy of loving. Is that not a great thing?

That is what I wanted to say to you here. Dear young people, to help you live like brothers and sisters, like friends, and that with as many people as possible, I bless you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
Conférence des évêques catholiques du Canada