I welcome you, the members of the Chemin Neuf Politics Fraternity, and through you, I warmly greet the young people from different countries who, like you, benefit from the expertise and accompaniment of the Chemin Neuf community. I thank you for making this journey to Rome, despite the limitations of the pandemic.
With you I give thanks to the Lord for the work of his Spirit, which is manifested in your human and spiritual journey in the service of the common good and of the poor in particular, a journey you make by rejecting poverty and working for a more just and fraternal world. In fact, in the unbridled pursuit of possessions, careers, honours or power, the weak and the least are often ignored and rejected, or considered useless, indeed – and this is not there [in the text] – they are considered as waste material. This is why I hope that your commitment and your enthusiasm in the service of others, shaped by the power of the Gospel of Christ, will restore a taste for life and hope in the future to many people, especially many young people.
“The lay vocation is directed above all to charity within the family and to social and political charity. It is a concrete and faith-based commitment to the building of a new society. It involves living in the midst of society and the world in order to bring the Gospel everywhere, to work for the growth of peace, harmony, justice, human rights and mercy, and thus for the extension of God’s kingdom in this world” (Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Christus Vivit, 168). It is precisely with this dynamic that you journey, with an ecumenical openness and a heart willing to welcome different cultures and traditions, in order to transform the face of our society.
Dear friends, I encourage you not to be afraid to walk the paths of fraternity and to build bridges between people, between peoples, in a world where so many walls are still being built out of fear of others. Through your initiatives, your projects and your activities, you make visible a Church that is poor with and for the poor, an outbound Church that is close to people in situations of suffering, vulnerability, marginalisation and exclusion. Indeed, “our faith in Christ, who became poor, and was always close to the poor and the outcast, is the basis of our concern for the integral development of society’s most neglected members” (Evangelii Gaudium, 186).
With the young people of your societies, today more than ever, you face challenges in which the health of our common home is at stake. It is truly an ecological conversion that recognises the eminent dignity of each person, their own worth, their creativity and their capacity to seek and promote the common good. What we are currently experiencing with the pandemic teaches us in a tangible way that we are all in the same boat and that we can only overcome difficulties if we agree to work together. And you are spending a few days here in Rome precisely to reflect on a particular aspect of life in our common home: that of the presence of migrants and their reception in today’s Europe. As you well know, “When we talk about migrants and displaced persons, all too often we stop at statistics. But it is not about statistics, it is about real people! If we encounter them, we will get to know more about them. And knowing their stories, we will be able to understand them” (Message for the 106th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, 15 May 2020).
Dear friends, I invite you to remain firm in your convictions and in your faith. Never forget that Christ is alive and that he calls you to walk courageously after him. With him, be that flame that revives hope in the hearts of so many young people who are discouraged, sad and without prospects. May you generate bonds of friendship, of fraternal sharing, for a better world. The Lord counts on your boldness, your courage and your enthusiasm.
I entrust each one of you and your families, as well as the members of your fraternity and all the young people you meet to the intercession of the Virgin Mary and to the protection of Saint Ignatius. I bless you from my heart. And please do not forget to pray for me. And may the Lord bless each and every one of you. Amen.