The audience between Pope Francis and 200 Japanese students at the Saint Damasus Courtyard was joyful, intimate and spontaneous.
It was also an unusual occurrence since the Pope rarely welcomes visitors during the month of August. But Pope Francis did not hesitate to meet personally with the student group and improvised remarks, highlighting the importance of dialogue.
"Dialogue is very important for personal maturity, because in getting acquainted with other people and cultures, in getting acquainted with other religions, one grows and matures.”
Pope Francis also added that to build understanding and peace between cultures, it's important to have an open attitude.
"Meekness, the ability to find people, to find culture peacefully; the ability to ask intelligent questions: "But why are you thinking like this? Why does this culture do this? Listen to others and then speak. First listen and then speak. This is humility.”
Francis has shown a special affection for Japan, and at several times he explained that when he was younger he wanted to be a missionary there. To close the audience, one of the students thanked the Pope for his words, and they all sang their college's anthem.