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WORLD YOUTH DAY: During flight, pope talks about importance of giving young people jobs

Posted By July 23, 2013 | 1:02 pm | Featured Article #1
ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT TO BRAZIL (CNS) -- With economic hard times as an excuse not to hire young people, the world risks tossing them aside and endangers its own future, Pope Francis said. Speaking to reporters aboard the papal flight to Rio de Janeiro July 22, the pope declined to answer their questions, but instead made very brief remarks about his July 22-29 trip and then greeted each of the 71 media members. A Mexican veteran of papal trips, speaking on behalf of the journalists, welcomed the pope to the back of the plane on his first foreign trip, acknowledging the pope's reputation for keeping reporters at a distance.

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service
ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT TO BRAZIL (CNS) — With economic hard times as an excuse not to hire young people, the world risks tossing them aside and endangers its own future, Pope Francis said.
Speaking to reporters aboard the papal flight to Rio de Janeiro July 22, the pope declined to answer their questions, but instead made very brief remarks about his July 22-29 trip and then greeted each of the 71 media members.
A Mexican veteran of papal trips, speaking on behalf of the journalists, welcomed the pope to the back of the plane on his first foreign trip, acknowledging the pope’s reputation for keeping reporters at a distance.
Pope Francis said it was strange to hear her interpretation that reporters “aren’t the saints I’m most devoted to” and that by entering the media section of the plane he was entering “the lion’s den.”
“It’s true I don’t give interviews. I don’t know why. I just can’t. It’s tiresome,” he said. “But I enjoy your company.”
Turning to World Youth Day, the purpose of his trip, Pope Francis said he did not want the event to be a meeting with young people “in isolation,” because “when we isolate them we do them an injustice. They belong to a family, a country, a culture and faith.”
While it is true that young people are the future, he said, they are not the only keys to a healthy future for a society, nation or the world.
The young “are the future because they are strong,” the 76-year-old pope said, but the aged are essential too, “because they have the wisdom of life.”
“Sometimes we are unjust to the aged; we set them aside as if they have nothing to give,” he said. “But they have the wisdom of life, history of our homelands and families that we need.”
Pope Francis told reporters he knows that in many countries the economic crisis has been hardest on young people and young families.
“I read last week how many of the young are without work, and I think we run the risk of creating a generation that has never worked,” he said.
The long-term lack of a job is detrimental, he said, because “work is dignity to the person (and) the ability to earn one’s bread.”
Once again decrying what he describes as “a throwaway culture,” Pope Francis said “we do it often with the aged and now, with this crisis, we are doing the same with the young.”
What the world needs and what Pope Francis had said he hoped to demonstrate in Brazil is “a culture of inclusion and encounter” to make sure everyone’s place and potential contribution to society is welcomed.
Telling the journalists that he noticed that they weren’t as “ferocious” as he had feared, the pope asked them to “help me by collaborating for the good of society, the young and the aged.”
World Youth Day obviously has been on the pope’s mind for weeks, but in the three days before leaving Rome it was clear the trip and the young people he would meet were a priority for him.
He visited retired Pope Benedict XVI July 19, asking him to accompany the journey with his prayers.
Then July 20 he made an unannounced visit to Rome’s Basilica of St. Mary Major, spending more than half an hour in private prayer and entrusting the young people to Mary.
The basilica was open to the public at the time, so when he was done praying the pope went to the main altar and addressed the stunned crowd. He asked people to accompany his trip and his meetings with the young people with “prayer, trust and penance.”
He recited the Angelus prayer at noon July 21 with visitors who were gathered in St. Peter’s Square. He thanked the people who had brought a large banner with the words “Buon viaggio” and again asked people to accompany World Youth Day with their prayers.
“All those going to Rio want to hear the voice of Jesus, to listen to Jesus,” the pope said. They want to ask, “Lord Jesus, what must I do with my life? What is the path for me?”
Pope Francis’ @Pontifex Twitter account also took a decidedly WYD turn the three days before he left, telling those already in Rio he was looking forward to seeing them, praying for a safe journey for those heading toward Rio, and July 21 offering prayers that those unable to make the trip would still be a part of it through prayer.

Jesuit superior tells WYD pilgrims ‘keep eyes, heart open’

By Catholic News Service
SALVADOR, Brazil (CNS) — Using the example of a big-hearted giraffe, the superior general of the Jesuits, Father Adolfo Nicolas, told 2,000 World Youth Day pilgrims: “Keep your eyes and your hearts open.”
The young people from around the world — mostly students from Jesuit universities — gathered in Salvador July 12 for a 10-day, pre-World Youth Day program known as Magis, which means “the more” in Latin. The program is designed for the young people to examine their lives to see how they can do more for Christ and for others.
Before they set off for prayer and service activities in dozens of locations throughout Brazil, they attended a Mass July 15 with Father Nicolas.
In his homily — in both Spanish and English — Father Nicolas told the pilgrims about a Cambodian bishop who chose the giraffe as his diocesan symbol because it has one of the biggest hearts in the animal kingdom — it has to have a big heart to pump blood all the way up to its brain. Because it is so tall, it has “a very high point of view,” he said.
“Humanity is more than any one of us has experienced in our own countries,” the Jesuit general told the young people. Approaching the people of Brazil and their fellow pilgrims with a big heart and a broad view can change their lives.
The Gospel story of the good Samaritan “contains one of the secrets our faith,” which is that “faith is mostly in the heart. It is not far,” he said. “We don’t have to go up to heavens,” but one must listen to the voice of God in his or her heart.
Some people, he said, want to hold on to ancient traditions “which say nothing to you young people. And many young people don’t come to church and the older people say, ‘They have no faith.’ But I say, ‘Yes, they have faith. Look at their hearts. There you will find it.'”
“God says to us that there is nothing complicated about the faith, but you must listen to your heart,” he said.
Father Nicolas told the pilgrims about being with a group of young Jesuits in Japan. They watched a program about 50 young, non-Christian Japanese who lived and worked abroad for two years, mostly in programs similar to the Peace Corps. He said they all admitted they went out of curiosity, but were changed by their contact the poor, “people who were suffering, people who had great difficulties, and yet, they had hope, they had joy.”
“What I thought at the time was, ‘This is the kind of people I would like to join the Society of Jesus,'” he said, “people with a heart, and therefore they have a capacity to grow into Christ. They have one of the secrets of our faith — that faith is in the heart.
“Jesus is the summary of our faith. He showed in his words — which were very simple — in his preaching and his life he told us what God is. He told us God is mercy and compassion. We don’t need to complicate that, we don’t need thick books of theology to prove that; we need a heart, a heart that can reach in the line of the compassion of God.”
“The secret of secrets” in Christianity is love, “love of God that turns into love of neighbor,” he said.
“It’s not whom we love, but whether we love or not, that’s the question,” Father Nicolas told the students.

World Youth Day by the numbers: pilgrims, toilets and security patrols

By Lise Alves
Catholic News Service
SAO PAULO (CNS) — As hundreds of thousands of young Catholic pilgrims descend on Brazil, World Youth Day coordinators in Rio de Janeiro are putting the finishing touches on preparations for up to 2.5 million people.
By July 15, more than 320,000 people had registered for the event. Media coordinator Carol Castro said many pilgrims will register when they arrive, and many will participate in the events without being registered.
The countries with the greatest numbers of pilgrims registered are Brazil, Argentina and the United States, but young people are coming from as far away as the Philippines and Slovakia.
More than 8,400 priests from all over the globe requested credentials for the event. Approximately 5,500 journalists have been given credentials to cover Pope Francis’ first international trip.
Castro said 55 percent of registered pilgrims are women and 60 percent of those coming are ages 19-34. About 300,000 beds were made available in family homes, sports centers and schools in Rio.
Officials said more than 270 locations are available for catechetical session in 26 languages, including Polish, Latvian, Mandarin and Flemish.
They said 60,000 volunteers, of whom 7,000 are foreigners, will be on hand during the week to help and direct pilgrims to the events in Rio. Nearly 800 singers, dancers, actors and musicians will be participating in the main events.
Catholic officials will have 4 million hosts for consecration, and 100 confessionals will be at hand for pilgrims.
Pope Francis will greet pilgrims on a stage overlooking Copacabana beach July 25. For those unable to get to the main stage, organizers have set up two large and 16 smaller screens and 26 sound towers.
The July 27 vigil will be outside the city at a site equal to approximately 150 soccer fields. The venue has been dubbed Campus Fidei, Latin for Field of Faith. This is also the site for Pope Francis’ July 28 Mass with young people, who can watch on 33 large outdoor screens if they cannot see the altar.
To make things more comfortable for pilgrims spending the night, the area will have 4,673 portable bathrooms, 270 of which were adapted for people with disabilities.
More than 12 million liters of water will be at hand for pilgrims, distributed in 177 locations throughout the area.
The Brazilian armed forces has been put in charge of guaranteeing the security of pilgrims at Campus Fidei. The army will have 1,500 people stationed inside Campus Fidei while the national security force will have 1,300 people patrolling both inside and outside the vigil area.
For the entire event, security for pilgrims will count on more than 10,200 military units. The number of members of the armed forces to be used to guarantee security for pilgrims was increased from 8,500 after the recent socio-political protests in several cities in Brazil. Pope Francis will be guarded by 600 military personnel as well as 80 people from Brazil’s federal police and Vatican police who accompany Pope Francis on his visit.

Pope sends condolences after French WYD pilgrim dies in crash

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis joined French World Youth Day pilgrims in mourning the death of 21-year-old Sophie Moriniere, a member of a Paris WYD group, who was killed July 17 in a road accident in French Guiana.
“With all his heart, Pope Francis shares the pain of her family, the group leaders and organizers,” said a message signed by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican secretary of state, and posted on the Paris archdiocesan website.
The archdiocese said Moriniere was a popular member of the youth group from Paris’ St. Leo Parish and was serving as a special WYD correspondent for the archdiocesan-run Notre Dame Radio.
Pope Francis also offered his prayers for the six people injured when the bus in which they were riding collided with a truck near Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni in western French Guiana.
Local media reported that Moriniere was one of 23 people from France who had traveled to French Guiana before heading to Brazil for World Youth Day events in Rio de Janeiro July 23-28. The group of young Catholics reportedly was on its way to Kourou, home of the Guiana Space Center, from which the European Space Agency and the French space program launch satellites.
Bishop Emmanuel Lafont of Cayenne celebrated a Mass for the crash victims July 17, while Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois of Paris was to preside over a prayer service July 20 at St. Leo’s.
In a statement July 17, the cardinal asked Paris Catholics to say special prayers for Moriniere and her fellow pilgrims who experienced “a tragedy in the midst of their pilgrimage of faith.”

Teacher’s WYD pilgrimage detoured by brush with illicit drug trade

By David Agren
Catholic News Service
MEXICO CITY (CNS) — A pilgrimage to World Youth Day took a detour through prison for a Mexican preschool teacher after an inadvertent brush with the illegal drug trade.
The ordeal, which made national headlines and prompted intervention from Mexico’s attorney general, ended well for Angel de Maria Soto Zarate, who was exonerated July 17.
It was uncertain if she would make it to Rio de Janeiro in time for the opening of World Youth Day July 23.
Soto, 23, departed her hometown of Xalapa in Veracruz state for World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro July 11, but her passport went missing while changing planes in Lima, Peru, and she was sent back to Mexico.
The teacher was arrested upon arrival in Mexico City for supposedly carrying 22 pounds of cocaine in her suitcase. She was sent to a prison in Nayarit state, 460 miles west of the capital, where she was held incommunicado for 48 hours.
Young Mexicans began protesting for her release with social media campaigns with the hashtag #liberADMe, while the Archdiocese of Xalapa pressured public officials.
“The attorney general just admitted the innocence of Angel de Maria. She will be freed. Continue offering prayers,” Father Jose Juan Sanchez Jacome, archdiocesan spokesman, tweeted on his account July 17, when the release was announced.
Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam acknowledged the same day in an interview with Radio Formula, “She went through various unfortunate situations.”
Murillo said the suitcase checked by Soto contained the cocaine, but that videos of her packing the bag did not show drugs.

Barricades against protesters put damper on pope’s well-wishers

By Lise Alves
Catholic News Service
RIO DE JANEIRO (CNS) — The dream of trying to see Pope Francis up close ended at a police barricade for 74-year-old Odaleia Bastos.
“I don’t understand why we can’t get closer,” she said as she argued with police officers. “The population will protect the pope,” she kept telling them.
Bastos, like many residents of Rio’s Laranjeiras neighborhood, had hoped to see the pope as he entered the Guanabara Palace, the governor’s official residence, for his first official event in the city. Instead, she and hundreds of well-wishers were met with police security forces and riot police.
Maria Amelia Salvadore, 64, said she was disappointed but understood the security measures in place.
“I understand that they have to keep protesters away, but these young people are not protesting the pope, they are protesting against the politicians who are inside the palace waiting to meet the pontiff,” she told Catholic News Service.
Simone de Souza Slutzky said she though Pope Francis would probably support the movements that have shaken up many Brazilian cities over the summer.
“A sign that he is ‘with the people’ is the fact that the first contact in Brazil was with the population, not with the politicians,” she said. “That shows that he cares more about the people than he does about government officials.”
Salvadore said Brazilian politicians would do well to follow the pope’s humble examples.
“Our officials do not need palaces to live in, they should follow Pope Francis’ example … live a simple life,” she said.
By 6 p.m., the crowd of well-wishers had dissipated, making room for a rowdy group of protesters. The protesters started out peaceful, chanting anti-government slogans and lifting up signs calling for social changes in Rio.
“We are not against the pope’s visit,” said Francisco Magalhaes, 33, “but against corruption and this current government.”
“We did not go to the Municipal Theatre,” added Arianne Santos, 26. “Instead we came here, where the politicians are meeting the pope, to protest.”
At a press briefing that evening, the Vatican press spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, said Brazilian authorities decided to transport Pope Francis to the palace to avoid some of the protesters.
As the crowd got rowdier, protesters started to throw smoke bombs toward the barricades.
“We are here to demand better education and health,” said a 19-year-old student with an Anonymous mask who did not want to give out his name. John, as he asked to be called, carried a sign that said: “Pope, we apologize, but we are restructuring Brazil. Nothing against you, this is about the neglect seen in our country.”
Video editor Daniel Garcia, 33, told CNS that he was there just to warn the pope that he was meeting with crooks.
“I just want him to know who he is meeting with inside the palace,” he said, holding up a sign with his message.
As the minutes passed the crowd, estimated by police at 1,500, got angrier. Fire was set to a dummy, and fights started to break out between groups. A little farther back, CNS found urban studies professor Luciana Andrade and doctoral student Helena Galiza from Rio’s Federal University observing the unrest.
“We support the movement. Their demands are reasonable,” said Galiza.
The two women said protesting during the pope’s visit is one way to get international attention to the plight of those being removed from their homes so that the area can be used to build new stadiums and parking lots.
Rio is scheduled to host the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the Olympics in 2016.
World Youth Day volunteer Cecilia Elmallian, from Uruguay, did not seem too concerned with the protests.
“They have the right to protest, and I don’t believe they (protests) are against the pope,” she said as she headed out of the crowd. “I have been here for a while, with my WYD backpack, and have not been harassed once. They (protesters) seem to be OK with the (pope’s) visit.”
By 8 p.m. violence from both sides had led to several injuries and the arrest of five protesters. Two hours later barricades had been lifted, and the neighborhood was once again calm.

In Rio, Franciscan hospital awaits papal visit as ‘confirmation’

By Francis X. Rocca
Catholic News Service
RIO DE JANEIRO (CNS) — The week before Pope Francis was due to visit, Franciscan friars and sisters were excitedly preparing the Hospital of St. Francis of Assisi, setting up a refurbished chapel where the pope will pray and rehearsing a hymn they will sing for him.
The religious, members of the Fraternity of St. Francis of the Providence of God, regard the pope’s visit, scheduled for July 24, as the “confirmation of our path and of our calling,” said Brother Isaac Prudencio, the hospital’s vice director. “It’s as if God descended upon earth and said, ‘you are on the right path.’
“We are preparing for a great moment of evangelization inside the hospital,” he said. “We are preparing people’s hearts.”
Yet, Brother Prudencio said the hospital was not overplanning the greeting for its guest.
“What we say at that time will be from our hearts,” he said, noting that Pope Francis himself “tends to break protocol.”
“We are waiting for his cue so that we can share our feelings with him,” Brother Prudencio said.
The boyish-looking friar, who at 28 still wears braces on his teeth, was actually a senior member of the religious awaiting the pope at the hospital; many were barely out of their teens. That was fitting, of course, since the pope’s visit to Brazil, the first international trip of his pontificate, will be for World Youth Day.
Pope Francis personally added the hospital to his Rio itinerary, which had been planned under his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI.
The Vatican spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, told reporters in Rome July 17 that the pope intended the hospital, located in the working-class Tijuca district of northern Rio, to symbolize “all those working with poor, the marginalized and those struggling with addiction.”
During his visit, Pope Francis will inaugurate a new wing of the hospital dedicated to the psychiatric treatment of drug addicts, including users of crack cocaine, who represent 3 percent of the population of Brazil, according to the World Health Organization statistics cited by the hospital. The city of Rio estimates there are 6,000 crack users in the city alone.
Representatives of other Catholic institutions in the same field have been invited to the event. Among them is Franciscan Father Hans Stapel, the German founder of the Fazenda da Esperanca, or Farm of Hope, a church-run drug rehabilitation center in rural Brazil that Pope Benedict visited in 2007.
Fifteen-year-old Carlos Francisco Tarige Britto, whose father overcame drug dependency in the Rio hospital, will present the pope with a St. Francis of Assisi sculpture, made by another former patient.
“It’s incredible to me that he is coming to Brazil and that I will have a chance to meet him,” Britto said. “I’m very emotional. On the spot, I don’t even know if I’ll be able to talk. I’ll ask him for his blessing.”

Crowds in Rio swarm pope, who wanted to be ‘close to the people’

By Francis X. Rocca
Catholic News Service
RIO DE JANEIRO (CNS) — Hundreds of thousands of cheering people welcomed Pope Francis to Brazil July 22 as he made the first international trip of his pontificate to his native region of Latin America.
The papal plane touched down at Rio’s international airport at 3:43 p.m. local time, and the pope emerged 18 minutes later to cheers from a relatively small group, which included a children’s choir.
After exchanging greetings with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and other dignitaries for 15 minutes, the pope entered a compact Brazilian-made Fiat Idea for the ride downtown, accompanied by security vehicles and helicopters overhead.
At some points, the motorcade was separated from ordinary rush-hour commuters by nothing more than a median strip. As the pope’s car drew closer to the center, he passed increasingly large groups of people standing, cheering and waving. About 20 minutes into the ride, clusters of people began pressing against the vehicle, reaching out to touch the pope, and had to be pushed away by the security detail. At one point, the press of crowds brought the vehicle briefly to a standstill, and the pope emerged to kiss a baby.
Apparently attempting to avoid the crowds, the motorcade turned into a stretch of ordinary traffic. Shortly thereafter the papal car found itself repeatedly stuck between vehicles and crowds. Security officers could be seen vigorously pushing back bystanders who reached out to touch the pope.
The 13.2-mile ride took 44 minutes.
At the city’s cathedral, the pope boarded an open popemobile. Joined by Rio’s Archbishop Orani Tempesta, he made a 25-minute circuit of downtown streets. Crowds contained behind police barriers cheered and waved as confetti rained down on the pope, who occasionally stopped to kiss a baby or small child.
Brazilian Fernando Samapio said he brought his three children — Miguel, 6, Gabriel, 8, and Pedro, 10, to see Pope Francis, and he said he also would take them to World Youth Day events at Copacabana beach. The family also is housing pilgrims from Croatia, France and Mexico.
Samapio said Pope Francis “wants to renew the church, and I like him because of his humility and concern for the poor.”
Mercedes Maunier, 18, and Emilia Ruiz, 19, of La Plata, Argentina, said they were headed toward the cathedral for the 6 p.m. Mass for Argentines.
“I am very proud to be Argentine at this moment, but I think the pope will help youngsters from the entire world,” said Maunier.
Wanda Araujo, 83, called the visit “a blessing for all of us.”
“We were in need of a ‘people pope,'” she said. “Europeans don’t really know what is like living in Latin America.”
Just days before the trip, Pope Francis made the decision to circulate through downtown Rio de Janeiro so, as Archbishop Tempesta said, the pope could be “close to the people.” The decision exemplified the spontaneity that has already become a trademark quality of Pope Francis’ young pontificate.
According to his original itinerary, the pope would have proceeded directly from the airport to a welcome ceremony in the Guanabara Palace, the office of the governor of the state of Rio de Janeiro, about 12 miles away.
Instead, following the popemobile ride, he rode in the Fiat to a military airfield and boarded a helicopter that took him across the city to his meeting with Rousseff and other officials at the governor’s palace of Rio de Janeiro state. It was before 6 p.m., and lights already were shining in the twilight of the Southern Hemisphere’s winter.
The government has provided heightened security for the papal visit, with more than 28,000 police officers assigned to the week of events, which culminate in the celebrations of World Youth Day.
As the pope toured the city, Brazilian television reported that on the morning of July 21, police found a homemade bomb inside a bathroom at the sanctuary of Our Lady of Aparecida, which the pope was scheduled to visit July 24.