Ending the celebration of Mass on the Solemnity of Christ the King in the Italian City of Asti, Pope Francis recited the Angelus prayer, before thanking the city in the northern region of Piedmont for the warm welcome he received.
A prayer for peace
Pope Francis then went on to describe the time in which we are living as "a famine of peace".
He encouraged all those present to think of the many places in the world which are scourged by war, paying particular attention to Ukraine. He also turned his thoughts to the tragic fire two days ago in a refugee camp in Gaza, Palestine, which killed at least 21 people.
"We pray for the families of the victims", which included 10
children. "May the Lord receive into heaven those who lost their lives
and comfort that population so tried by years of conflict, stressed the
Pope, adding, "Let’s give ourselves something to do and continue to pray
Young people can change the world
The Pope then spoke of young people, sending them his love as he recalled that local Churches observe World Youth Day on this solemnity.
This year's theme, the Pope noted, is the same as the one for the upcoming World Youth Day in Lisbon: “Mary arose and went with haste”. The Pope noted that "Our Lady did this when she was young, and she tells us that the secret to remaining young is found precisely in those two verbs, to arise and to go". To arise and to go, repeated the Pope, "not to stay still thinking about ourselves, wasting our lives and chasing after comfort or the latest fads, but to aim for the heights, get on the move, leaving behind our own fears to take someone in need by the hand".
And today, Pope Francis concluded, we need young people who can change the world, "realizing dreams of peace".