Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Kerri Lenartowick

6/2/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

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.

Highlights

By Kerri Lenartowick

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

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 July 2015
Universal:
That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity.
Evangelization: That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society.



Comments


More Living Faith

'It is a constant reminder that we failed God': California pastor confesses to sin that haunted him for 23 years Watch

Image of Pastor Shane Idleman claims that he is still haunted by his 23-year-old sin.

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A pastor from Lancaster, California shared a haunting decision that created his 23-year-old "sin." He revealed details of this "sin" in a confession with his article posted in Charisma News. MUNTINLUPA CITY, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - The California pastor shared ... continue reading


2016: Year of Mercy events finalized for groups to celebrate Watch

Image of Bishops and priests around the world are asked to conduct

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Several individual celebrations are scheduled for the Jubilee of Mercy in 2016. The faithful will observe with pilgrimages to Rome to celebrate with Pope Francis. Of the specific groups that will have their own days of observances, they include consecrated men ... continue reading


YOU CAN'T BELIEVE IT -- Is Pope Francis really about to endorse THIS man? Watch

Image of Although Pope Francis is celebrating Mass next to an icon of the Cuban revolution, that does not mean he is endorsing it.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online - (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Cuban officials have given the go ahead for the papal altar to be erected next to a giant outline of Che Guevara for the world to see. Work has already begun on the project and the placement of the altar will provoke commentary from those who accuse Pope Francis of ... continue reading


Catholic priest who blessed atomic bomb crews -- and his conversion

Image of

By Tony Magliano

Seventy years ago, on August 6, 1945, the single most destructive weapon ever unleashed upon human beings and the environment - the atomic bomb - was dropped by an American B-29 bomber on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, killing approximately 80,000 people. Three days ... continue reading


Pastor Tullian Tchividjian breaks his silence: Admits life felt like a bad dream after recent affair scandal Watch

Image of Pastor Tullian Tchividjian is the grandson of famous evangelist Billy Graham,

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Ex-Pastor Tullian Tchividjian of the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida broke his silence after his recent moral failure admission and stepping down from his post. Billy Graham's grandson wrote an open letter to his supporters and friends, ... continue reading


Pope Francis warns of 'genocide' as Christian Persecution increases globally Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Christians all over the world are suffering from increasing prejudice and persecution. It is no secret that Islamic extremism and repressive governments are trying hard to perpetuate the oppression of Christianity. Pope Francis has been moved to warn of "a form of ... continue reading


'Let Jesus satisfy your hunger for God': Pope Francis encourages people to make offers to God Watch

Image of Pope Francis reflected on the Sunday reading from the Gospel of John in which a vast crowd follows Jesus, but lacks enough food to eat.

By CNA/EWTN News

Jesus Christ's miraculous multiplication of the loaves shows that he offers "fullness of life for hungry man," Pope Francis said Sunday. He encouraged everyone to offer what little they have to God so that God can multiply their gifts and good deeds. Vatican ... continue reading


What to wear to church: What's more important, physical or inner beauty? Watch

Image of

By Hannah Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Wearing your best outfit or putting on a little makeup in preparation for Church isn't too looked down upon. A leading Christian writer shared with Crosswalk.com what she has realized over years of church participation. Although she loves beautiful clothes and make-up, ... continue reading


'Nothing can separate me from the love of God': The first American Ebola patient shares his profound realization on deathbed Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

He was the first American who contracted the deadly Ebola virus - fearful and sick, Dr. Kent Brantly came to realize something important for Christians and their relationship with God. Amid the pain and moments of uncertainty, from being diagnosed positive with ... continue reading


J. Matt Barber: The Meaning of Life

Image of Matt Barber is founder and editor-in chief of BarbWire.com. He is an author, columnist, cultural analyst and an attorney concentrating in constitutional law.

By J. Matt Barber

So this was rock bottom. The day, which yet again wore into night with fast food and old Bonanza reruns, would end like all the rest. Where were my car keys? As I searched in preparation for another trip to the liquor store, I made my way to my bedroom and opened ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Numbers 13:1-2, 25--14:1, 26-29, 34-35
1 Yahweh spoke to Moses and said,2 'Send ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 106:6-7, 13-14, 21-22, 23
6 Like our ancestors, we have sinned, we have acted ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 15:21-28
21 Jesus left that place and withdrew to the region ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 5th, 2015 Image

St. Addal
August 5: A disciple of Christ sent by St. Thomas to the court of King ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter