Pope Francis, visited Rios Cathedral to meet with thousands of Argentinians who traveled to Brazil take part in World Youth Day. Speaking in Spanish, the Pope encouraged the youth, tolive their faith, out in the streets and not just in their parish.
"What do I expect from World Youth Day? I want action. I know you will shake things up. I know that's going to happen here in Rio. But I also want action in your dioceses. I want you to go beyond your comfort zone. I want the Church to go out to the street."
After visiting the Varghina slum, Pope Francis made his way to the city's Cathedral to meet with the youth. In the background, one could hear the 1987 World Youth Day Hymn, back when the celebration was held in Argentina. The Pope stressed that the Church is not an NGO. He also said the youth has a lot in common with the elderly, encouraging them to not exclude them in their family or society.
"The world we live in has gone too far. It's too much. It's gotten to a point where God has been replaced by money. We are witnessing a philosophy of exclusion that goes to two extremes, disregarding the young and the elderly. These two are needed! We don't take care of the elderly. But there's also a cultural euthanasia. They are not allowed to speak or act. It's the same with the youth. Young people have to go out to defend true values. Fight for those values!"
In his improvised speech, the Pope also told the youth that faith is real and that they should stay true to their beliefs.
"Faith in Jesus Christ is no joke. It's something very serious. It's incredible that God became human to be with us. This is amazing. Jesus died on the Cross-This is astounding! The sacrifice of the Cross is incredible, and it's the only sure path. Please don't dilute your faith in Jesus Christ. You can't reduce faith. Faith is whole. Faith in Jesus cannot be diluted.”
An image of Our Lady of Lujan was present during the meeting, which was actually not part of the official schedule. The Pope blessed theimage as well as the St. Francis Cross that will be part of a pilgrimage in his native Argentina.
More than 20,000 Argentinians traveled to Brazil for World Youth Day. Those who managed to actually go inside the Cathedral, spent the night outside, so they could get a spot in the morning. Since not everyone was allowed inside, the Pope took some time to greet the pilgrims who were outside. As he greeted them he lifted an Argentinian flag.