Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Kerri Lenartowick

6/2/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (

Vatican City, May 31, 2014 / 08:45 am (CNA/EWTN News).- This morning the "Ode to Joy" rang out from a teenaged orchestra as Pope Francis entered a room packed with 400 Italian school children from disadvantaged homes. They waved and cheered as the Pope spoke to them in simple terms about the importance of light and love in a dark world.

Pope Francis embraces a young student on May 31, 2014 in Paul VI audience hall.

Pope Francis embraces a young student on May 31, 2014 in Paul VI audience hall.


By Kerri Lenartowick

Catholic Online (

6/2/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Living Faith, International

Today's meeting was the second of its kind, a collaboration between the Pontifical Council for Culture's "Court of the Gentiles" and Trenitalia, the Italian train company which sponsored the children's ride from Naples to Rome.

Join the Pope's fight against world hunger.

Pope Francis' encounter with the school children, who came from Naples as well as outlying areas of Rome, was marked by a joyful informality as he continued his simple question and answer style.

"Is it possible to make a better world?" he asked the children gathered in the atrium of the Paul VI hall on May 31, as they shouted "yes!" in reply.

"Yes! And better than the world I live in?" Pope Francis continued, as his young audience again shouted, "yes!"

"Yes. And to make a better world, how do we do it? With hate? Do we make it with hate?"

Some children stood up out of their chairs to shout, "no!"

"Good, say it, say it louder," he encouraged the, explaining that the task is done "with love. With love. Everyone together, as brothers, struggling alongside the other for love. And for this, I will tell you something: when the Apostle John, who was a very close friend of Jesus - a very close friend - wanted to say who God is, do you know what he said? 'God is love.' It's beautiful."

One little boy presented him with the gift of a clay pot containing dirt from the catacombs in Naples; a young girl brought him a plant.

The Pope used these objects as a theme for his simple catechesis, noting that the earth came from a place of darkness, but the plant grows in the light.

"The darkness is for the light," he explained. "When it is is nighttime, it's completely dark. But we wait for the first (time of) morning, when the light begins. What is more important - this is the question - the darkness, or the light?"

"The light!" his young audience replied enthusiastically.

"The light. Inside of ourselves, always. Because the light gives us joy, gives us hope. And do all of us have that possibility to find the light?"

When the children replied, "yes!" he explained, "because in the light there are good things, and in the light you can do what you told me when you have given me the plant: the fruits help us to make a  world that is."

"Better!" the children finished for him.

In addition to the plant and dirt from the catacombs, the children and their teachers had prepared a special song for Pope Francis: the traditional Italian ballad, "O Solo Mio," with an added verse of "O Papa Mio."

Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, head of the Pontifical Council for Culture, told CNA that the "Court of the Gentiles" program was established as an opportunity for "dialogue between believers and nonbelievers," but he does not want it to remain "only at a high intellectual (or) social level."

He hopes that they will also be willing to confront "the mess, the knots, the obscure things" of life.

Vincenzo Soprano, CEO of Trenitalia, told CNA that he was touched by how hard these children's lives had been, living in the inner-city like atmosphere of Naples. When he asked one child what his favorite part of the trip was, "he answered, 'the landscape along the trip.' Because they have only lived in a small part of Naples."

"It's not for nothing that (today's) symbol was the excavation of the light," Cardinal Ravasi noted, since the small boy who brought up the jar filled with dirt from the catacombs comes from a home with parents involved in drugs, living in terribly impoverished circumstances. His presentation of that gift "profoundly signifies for the children what it is to conserve the interior light."


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2015
That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated.
Evangelization: That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting it.


More Living Faith

FULL TEXT: Family synod prayer vigil, Pope Francis's full address Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Presiding over a prayer vigil in St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis led the beginning of the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family, at the Vatican. Drawing tens of thousands of the faithful, many were present in the Square since the afternoon for a ... continue reading

Vatican issues statement in regards to monsignor's declaration of homosexuality Watch

Image of


The director of the Holy See press office has issued a statement in response to Vatican official Msgr. Krzysztof Charamsa's declaration in a recent interview that he is homosexual and has a boyfriend. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - Msgr. Charamsa, 43, granted a ... continue reading

Guardian Angels are always by our sides, Pope Francis says Watch

Image of Pope Francis explained that when Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden, God could have left them to fend for themselves. Instead, as an act of love and mercy, the Lord sent with them an angel to guide and protect them.


Each of us has a Guardian Angel who, acting on behalf of God, advises us and protects us from evil, if we only listen to him, Pope Francis said during his homily at Mass on Friday. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - "May we ask the Lord for the grace of this ... continue reading

Top 5 Bible verses to turn to when you're angry Watch

Image of What does the Bible have to say about anger?

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

What makes you angry? Maybe you don't like the way your boss talks to you at work or your spouse spends too much money. What do you do when you feel anger coming on? Who do you turn to? LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - When we get angry we can say or do things we ... continue reading

Megachurch Pastor's new book tells people to 'get over themselves' Watch

Image of Pastor Kyle Idleman (YouTube).


Megachurch Pastor Kyle Idleman claims that to live life, "everyone simply needs to get over themselves" to truly "experience abundant life with Jesus," a theory he promotes in his new book The End of Me: Where Real Life in the Upside-Down Ways of Jesus Begins. LOS ... continue reading

Parents of St. Therese of Lisieux to be canonized by Pope Francis Watch

Image of The canonizations of the married couple will coincide with the Synod on the Family, to be held on Oct. 4-25.


Pope Francis approved, earlier this year, the decrees necessary for Blesseds Louis and Zelie Martin - known for being the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux - to be declared saints. VATICAN CITY (CNA/EWTN News) - The two blesseds will be the first couple ever to ... continue reading

Phoenix bishop encourages Catholic men to 'step into the breach' Watch

Image of Calling on all Christian men to take a stand in the Church's spiritual battle, Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix asked men in his diocese to courageously pursue their vocations as friends, fathers, and spouses.


Calling on all Christian men to take a stand in the Church's spiritual battle, Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix asked men in his diocese to courageously pursue their vocations as friends, fathers, and spouses. Phoenix, Ariz. (CNA/EWTN News) - "Men, do not ... continue reading

Interview with Archbishop Chaput puts U.S. papal visit in perspective Watch

Image of Archbishop Chaput offered his take on the historic papal trip, the challenges facing family in the U.S., and the upcoming Synod of Bishops in Rome.

By Michelle Bauman, CNA/EWTN News

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia hosted Pope Francis in his highly anticipated first visit to the United States. As the dust settled after the departure of nearly one million participants in the final Mass for the World Meeting of Families, CNA had the ... continue reading

Pope Francis speaks truth to power Watch

Image of

By Tony Magliano

From celebrating Masses at Havana's Revolution Square in Cuba, Washington, D.C., New York City and Philadelphia, to addressing the U.S. Congress and the United Nations - and with lots packed in between - the 78-year-old Pope Francis tirelessly proclaimed the Gospel ... continue reading

Pope Francis tells young people Jesus 'has so many things to say to each of you' Watch

Image of His Message for the 31st World Youth Day in Krakow 2016 invited young people to reflect on mercy and to visit the Divine Mercy Shrine in Krakow.


With World Youth Day coming up next year, Pope Francis has a question for young people: "Do you realize how precious you are to God, who has given you everything out of love?" Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - "You, dear young man, dear young woman, have you ever ... continue reading

All Living Faith News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 4th, 2015 Image

St. Francis of Assisi
October 4: Founder of the Franciscan Order, born at Assisi in Umbria, in ... Read More