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Pope Francis Hosts a 'Popecast' Ahead of World Youth Day
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In preparation for the upcoming World Youth Day in Lisbon, Portugal, Pope Francis engaged with young people in a newly produced podcast by Vatican News called the "Popecast." The podcast, which is produced in Italian, released its second episode featuring the Holy Father responding to prerecorded questions and struggles of young individuals. The first podcast was launched in March on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of Pope Francis' papal election.
Photo credit - Annett Klingner
During the episode, Pope Francis addressed various heartfelt accounts shared by young people. One individual, Giona, opened up about their personal struggle with transgenderism. In response, the Holy Father emphasized the love of God for all people just as they are. He assured Giona and others that the Lord always accompanies them, even in times of sin or difficulty, and encourages them to persevere and never give up.
Another young woman, Arianna, shared her experience of suffering from bipolar disorder, which has led to suicidal thoughts at times. Despite her challenges, she feels "saved by God." Pope Francis acknowledged the importance of seeking guidance from health professionals and relying on God's love and mercy to heal our wounds, both physical and spiritual.
A young man named Giuseppe spoke about leaving college and spending excessive time playing video games online, leading to a sense of isolation. The Holy Father warned against living life solely through virtual interactions and stressed the significance of human contact and genuine connections.
The "Popecast" also featured the stories of Edward and Valerij, both of whom faced difficult family situations that led to a life of crime and juvenile detention. Pope Francis encouraged them not to be defined by their past mistakes and emphasized that everyone's human story consists of successes and failures. He assured them of Jesus' constant presence, ready to offer a helping hand and uplift their lives.
The podcast also included a message from Valeria, a religion teacher, who expressed her students' desire for a more transparent and youthful Church that is closer to the people. Pope Francis acknowledged the importance of walking together with the faithful and avoiding divisions within the Church. He highlighted the strength of the Church's diversity and unity.
Additionally, the Holy Father directed a message to young people from his native country, Argentina, encouraging them to contribute to the betterment of society and rise to the occasion in their endeavors.
Pope Francis concluded the "Popecast" by urging the young participants to take part in World Youth Day, promising them a fulfilling experience filled with community, celebration, hope, and joy.
As World Youth Day approaches, the Holy Father's engagement with young people through the "Popecast" highlights the Church's dedication to connecting with and understanding the concerns and aspirations of the younger generation.
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