Home of Pope Francis
Thursday afternoon, we gathered with the tens of thousands of young pilgrims to welcome Pope Francis. After he drove by a few meters from us, our sovereign pontiff took the floor to address the young people, confiding to them that our Mother Church was for everyone and should reject no one. A strong message for the group that I accompanied and me. The assembly of pilgrims chanted: TODOS, TODOS, TODOS (ALL, ALL, ALL). I couldn’t help but shed a tear at this proclamation of the gospel message of unconditional and infinite love for every person.
Meetings at the heart of WYD
The most striking thing for me during these World Youth Days were the encounters I had every day. It is in the queues, or squeezed like a sardine in transport, that I have been able to live the most beautiful moments. They allowed me to rediscover fraternity. With most people, we didn’t really understand each other because of the language barrier, but there was a very strong feeling of brotherhood that I had never felt before.
One meeting in particular marked me. When I was tired and my group was waiting for people in the toilets, I wanted to go and rest on a bench. There was an old gentleman to whom I said “Hello”. As my vocabulary in Portuguese stops there, I imagined that the exchange would end. It was quite the opposite. He continued to talk to me. in Portuguese. I did not understand what he was saying but I understood all the same what he meant. I saw the love he had for me and for everyone he met. It was a completely gratuitous act and he abandoned himself to it totally. Thanks to him, I was able to love him the same way in return. It transformed all the encounters I had during the rest of my stay.
The other young people I met also mentioned these moments: the little pin’s that Mexicans gave them, the meeting with a homeless person, the people who picked them up, etc. Seeing so many people put so much joy and energy into coming together to become one body in God made me want to share these emotions. Since I returned, I have been thinking about how to keep all these graces, how to continue to live this fraternity in my everyday life. I would like to organize an alpha campus in Compiègne.