Pope Francis applauds as men re-enact the story of Our Lady of Aparecida during the World Youth Day welcoming ceremony on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro July 25. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
From the Vatican Radio site:
Pope Francis greeted young pilgrims taking part in World
Youth Day celebrations in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Thursday. The
sprawling sands of Rio’s famous Copacabana beach was the scene of the
gathering, which was the first official encounter of pilgrims with the
Holy Father during the week of events leading to the 28th World Youth Day on Sunday, July 28th.
Copacabana appointment opened with an extraordinary display by 150
young people who offered an artistic interpretation of daily life in the
“Marvelous City”. The festivities centered on a prayer service that
included a reading from the Gospel according to St. Luke, which recounts
the episode of the Transfiguration (9:28-36). Prayers of the faithful
were offered, as well as testimonies from five young people representing
every inhabited continent.
brief words of greeting to the young people, Pope Francis expressed his
joy at being able to celebrate with them, and made his own the hopeful
words of encouragement spoken by Bl. John Paul II at the 1987 World
Youth Day in his native Buenos Aires, “I have great hope in you! I hope
above all that you will renew your fidelity to Jesus Christ and to his
the Gospel reading, the Holy Father delivered a homily in which he
focused on the twin themes of faith in and faithfulness to Christ, in
spiritual commitment and the discipleship of everyday life. As he has
since the very beginning of his pontificate, Francis spoke of the spirit
of adventure the imbues a life given over to Christ, and renewed his
call never to tire of asking God’s forgiveness when there is need of it
in one’s life.
Below are the full texts of Pope Francis’ greeting and homily, from the Vatican Radio website.
Words of greeting from Pope Francis to WYD pilgrims
Thursday, July 25th, 2013
Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro
Dear Young Friends,
evening! In you I see the beauty of Christ’s young face and I am filled
with joy. I recall the first World Youth Day on an international level.
It was celebrated in 1987 in Argentina, in my home city of Buenos
Aires. I still cherish the words of Blessed John Paul II to the young
people on that occasion: “I have great hope in you! I hope above all
that you will renew your fidelity to Jesus Christ and to his redeeming
Cross” (Address to Young People, Buenos Aires, 11 April 1987).
I continue, I would like to call to mind the tragic accident in French
Guiana in which young Sophie Morinière was killed and other young people
were wounded. I invite all of you to observe a minute’s silence and to
pray for Sophie, for the wounded, and for their families.
year, World Youth Day comes to Latin America for the second time. And
you, young people, have responded in great number to the invitation
extended by Pope Benedict XVI to celebrate this occasion. We express to
him our heartfelt thanks. I am looking at the large crowd before me
there are so many of you! And you have come from every continent! In
many cases you have come from afar, not only geographically, but also
existentially, culturally, socially and humanly. But today you are all
here, or better yet, we are all here together as one, in order to share
the faith and the joy of an encounter with Christ, of being his
disciples. This week Rio has become the centre of the Church, its heart
both youthful and vibrant, because you have responded generously and
courageously to the invitation that Christ has made to you to be with
him and to become his friends.
train of this World Youth Day has come from afar and has travelled
across all of Brazil following the stages of the project entitled “Bota
fé put on faith!” Today the train has arrived at Rio de Janeiro. From
Corcovado, Christ the Redeemer embraces us and blesses us. Looking out
to this sea, the beach and all of you gathered here, I am reminded of
the moment when Jesus called the first disciples to follow him by the
shores of Lake Tiberias. Today Christ asks each of us again: Do you want
to be my disciple? Do you want to be my friend? Do you want to be a
witness to my Gospel? In the spirit of The Year of Faith, these
questions invite us to renew our commitment as Christians. Your families
and local communities have passed on to you the great gift of faith,
Christ has grown in you. I have come today to confirm you in this faith,
faith in the living Christ who dwells within you, but I have also come
to be confirmed by the enthusiasm of your faith!
greet you with great affection. To all of you assembled here from the
five continents and, through you, to all young people of the world, and
in particular to those who have not been able to come to Rio de Janeiro
but who are following us by means of radio, television and internet, I
say: Welcome to this immense feast of faith! In several parts of the
world, at this very moment, many young people have come together to
share this event: let us all experience the joy of being united with
each other in friendship and faith. And be sure of this: my pastoral
heart embraces all of you with universal affection. From the summit of
the mountain of Corcovado, Christ the Redeemer welcomes you to this
beautiful city of Rio!
wish to extend greetings to the President of the Pontifical Council for
the Laity, the dear and tireless Cardinal Stanisław Ryłko, and to all
who work with him. I thank Archbishop Orani João Tempesta, of São
Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro, for the warm welcome given to me and for
the considerable work of preparation for this World Youth Day, together
with the many Dioceses of this vast country of Brazil. I would also like
to express my gratitude to all the national, state and local
authorities and to those who have worked to make possible this unique
moment of celebration of unity, faith and fraternity. Thank you to my
brother Bishops, to the priests, seminarians, consecrated persons and
the lay faithful that have accompanied the young from various parts of
the world on their pilgrimage to Jesus. To each and every one of you I
offer my affectionate embrace in the Lord.
Brothers and sisters, dear friends, welcome to the XXVIII World Youth Day in this marvellous city of Rio de Janeiro!
off the cuff remarks during his greeting Pope Francis revealed he had
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI to accompany him in prayer to Rio and the
Holy Father said Pope Benedict accepted this request with joy and is now
in front of his TV watching this event.
his greeting he also added, that Bishops sometimes have problems that
make them sad. How terrible, a sad Bishop, he exclaimed, "and why am I
not sad," because he said, he had come to be infected by the spirit of
the young people at World Youth Day.
Homily of Pope Francis
Copacabana prayer service
July 25th, 2013
Rio de Janeiro
is good for us to be here!”, Peter cries out after seeing the Lord
Jesus transfigured in glory. Do we want to repeat these words with him? I
think the answer is yes, because here today, it is good for all of us
to be gathered together around Jesus! It is he who welcomes us and who
is present in our midst here in Rio. In the Gospel we have heard God the
Father say: “This is my Son, my chosen one; listen to him!” (Lk 9:35).
If it is Jesus who welcomes us, we too ought to welcome him and listen
to his words; it is precisely through the welcome we give to Jesus
Christ, the Word made flesh, that the Holy Spirit transforms us, lights
up our way to the future, and enables us joyfully to advance along that
way with wings of hope (cf. Lumen Fidei, 7).
what can we do? “Bota fé put on faith”. The World Youth Day Cross has
proclaimed these words throughout its pilgrimage in Brazil. “Put on
faith”: what does this mean? When we prepare a plate of food and we see
that it needs salt, well, we “put on” salt; when it needs oil, then you
“put on” oil. “To put on”, that is, to place on top of, to pour over.
And so it is in our life, dear young friends: if we want it to have real
meaning and fulfilment, as you want and as you deserve, I say to each
one of you, “Put on faith”, and your life will take on a new flavour, it
will have a compass to show you the way; “put on hope” and every one of
your days will be enlightened and your horizon will no longer be dark,
but luminous; “put on love”, and your life will be like a house built on
rock, your journey will be joyful, because you will find many friends
to journey with you. Put on faith, put on hope, put on love!
who can give us all this? In the Gospel we have just heard the answer:
Christ. “This is my Son, my chosen one. Listen to him!” Jesus is the one
who brings God to us and us to God. With him, our life is transformed
and renewed, and we can see reality with new eyes, from Jesus’
standpoint, with his own eyes (cf. Lumen Fidei, 18). For this reason, I
want to insist with you today: “Put on Christ!” in your life, and you
will find a friend in whom you can always trust; “put on Christ” and you
will see the wings of hope spreading and letting you journey with joy
towards the future; “put on Christ” and your life will be full of his
love; it will be a fruitful life.
I would like each of us to ask sincerely: in whom do we place our
trust? In ourselves, in material things, or in Jesus? We are all tempted
to put ourselves at the centre, to think that we alone build our lives
or that our life can only be happy if built on possessions, money, or
power. But it is not so. Certainly, possessions, money and power can
give a momentary thrill, the illusion of being happy, but they end up
possessing us and making us always want to have more, never satisfied.
“Put on Christ” in your life, place your trust in him and you will never
be disappointed! You see how faith accomplishes a revolution in us, one
which we can call Copernican, because it removes us from the centre and
restores it to God; faith immerses us in his love and gives us
security, strength, and hope. To all appearances, nothing has changed;
yet, in the depths of our being, everything is different. Peace,
consolation, gentleness, courage, serenity and joy, which are all fruits
of the Holy Spirit (cf. Gal 5:22), find a home in our heart, and our
very being is transformed; our way of thinking and acting is made new,
it becomes Jesus’ own, God’s own, way of thinking and acting. During the
Year of Faith, this World Youth Day is truly a gift offered to us to
draw us closer to the Lord, to be his disciples and his missionaries, to
let him renew our lives.
young people: “Put on Christ” in your lives. In these days, Christ
awaits you in his word; listen carefully to him and your heart will be
warmed by his presence; “Put on Christ”: he awaits you in the sacrament
of Penance, to heal by his mercy the wounds caused by sin. Do not be
afraid to ask God’s forgiveness! He never tires of forgiving us, like a
father who loves us. God is pure mercy! “Put on Christ”: he is waiting
for you in his flesh in the Eucharist, the sacrament of his presence and
his sacrifice of love, and in the humanity of the many young people who
will enrich you with their friendship, encourage you by their witness
to the faith, and teach you the language of charity, goodness and
too, dear young people, can be joyful witnesses of his love, courageous
witnesses of his Gospel, carrying to this world a ray of his light.
is good for us to be here”, putting on Christ in our lives, putting on
the faith, hope and love which he gives us. Dear friends, in this
celebration we have welcomed the image of Our Lady of Aparecida. With
Mary, may we be disciples and missionaries. Like her, may we say “Yes”
to God. Let us ask that her maternal heart intercede for us, so that our
hearts may be open to loving Jesus and making others love him. He is
waiting for us, and he is counting on us. Amen.