First general audience, for Pope Francis, after the July break and the journey to Poland on the occasion of the World Youth Day. A crowd of enthusiastic faithful have welcomed the Pontiff: among the “gifts” Beroglio has received, there was also a doll dressed as the Pope, which put a smile both on Francis’ face and on that of the people who were present.
During the general audience, Bergolglio dwelt at length on his journey to Poland and its deep meaning: “this World Youth Day has become a prophetic sign for Poland, Europe, and for the world as a whole. The new generation of young people, heirs and successors to the pilgrimage started by St. John Paul II, gave the answer to today’s challenge, gave a sign of hope, and this sign is called Fraternity – the Pope said -. Because in this world at war, fraternity, dialogue, and friendship are what we need, and when there is brotherhood, it is a sign of hope.”
“There can be no future for the continent without its founding values, which, in their turn, revolve around a Christian vision of man – said Bergoglio -. One of these values is mercy, and two children of Poland, Saint Faustina Kowalska and John Paul II have become its apostles”.
He also dedicated a reflection to the Italian young woman who died of a meningitis attack at the end of the WYD: “a memory full of affection goes out to Susanna, a girl from Rome, of this diocese, who died soon after participating in the WYD, in Vienna. May the Lord, who has certainly welcomed her in heaven, comfort her family and friends.”
At the end of the hearing, the Pope also commented on the upcoming Olympic Games in Brazil: “in a world that thirsts for peace, tolerance, and reconciliation, I hope that the spirit of the Olympic Games will inspire everyone, both participants and spectators, to fight the good fight and finish the race together, desirous of achieving as a reward not a medal, but something much more valuable: the creation of a civilization where solidarity will reign, based on the recognition that we are all members of one human family.”
Pope Francis’ wish is that the Olympics can become an input for Brazil, an opportunity for rebirth and hope for the country: “as to the Brazilians, who have organized the Sports Festival with the joy and hospitality that characterize them, I hope it will be an opportunity to overcome difficult times and engage in ‘teamwork’, to construct a fairer and safer country, betting on a future full of hope and joy.”