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Pope Francis greets the World Youth Day crowd in Lisbon’s Eduardo VII Park yesterday (Neil Helmore)

At Pope Francis’ first official World Youth Day event in Portugal, he told the 500,000 young people that their presence was no accident and that God has called each one by name. Source: CNA.

“Dear friends, there is a happiness that Jesus has prepared for you, for each of you: It does not come from accumulating things but from putting your life on the line. The Lord says also to each of you: ‘Go, for there is a world that needs what you, and you alone, can give it,” the Pope said in Lisbon’s Eduardo VII Park last night.

As young people waved flags from the more than 190 nations represented at this year’s World Youth Day welcome ceremony, Pope Francis said: “We have been called because we are loved.”

“In God’s eyes, we are precious children, and he calls us each day in order to embrace and encourage us, to make of us a unique and original masterpiece whose beauty we can only begin to glimpse.

“Dear young people, on this World Youth Day, let us help one another to recognise this reality; may these days be vibrant echoes of that loving call of God, because we are precious in God’s eyes, despite what our eyes sometimes see, despite what our eyes are sometimes clouded by negativity and dazzled by so many distractions,” he said.

Unlike social media algorithms that associate a name with likes and preferences, God truly knows each person’s uniqueness, the Pope told the young people, adding: “God’s heart beats uniquely for you.”

Pope Francis received an enthusiastic welcome as he arrived in the Popemobile to shouts of “Papa Francisco” from Portuguese and Spanish-speaking pilgrims.

The 86-year-old Pope appeared tired at times during the nearly two-hour ceremony in which singers and dancers performed on a large, elevated stage, but he spoke with enthusiasm and frequently added comments not included in his prepared remarks.

Pope Francis is scheduled to attend several World Youth Day events before he departs Portugal on Sunday night, including the Stations of the Cross on Friday night and a rosary with young people who are sick at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fátima on Saturday.


Pope Francis’ first World Youth Day speech: ‘God’s heart beats uniquely for you’ (By Courtney Mares and Hannah Brockhaus, CNA)


Make room for everyone in the church, Pope Francis tells young people in Portugal

(NCR Online)

Half million youths give pope rock star welcome in Lisbon (The Australian)