Dignity and service were at the heart of Pope Francis' message during Mass, as part of his apostolic trip to Molise.
A large choir welcomed him to the former stadium at Campobasso, where thousands of sun-soaked pilgrims waited for his arrival.
During his homily, as he talked about the "wound of unemployment” in the region, the Pope called for a greater culture of solidarity.
"It's necessary to place human dignity at the center of each perspective and each action. All other interests, even if legitimate, are secondary. At the center is human dignity. Why? Because the human person is an image of God. He was created in God's image, and we are all God's image.”
His remarks were centered around the wider concept of God's freedom: the freedom from sin and selfishness, and the freedom to love and serve others.
"This is the freedom that God has given us and we must not lose it: the freedom to adore God, to serve God and to serve him even in our brothers and sisters. This is the freedom that, by the grace of God, we experience in the Christian community, when we put ourselves at each other’s service, without jealousy, without taking sides, without chatter… Serving one another. Serving!”
The Pope added that God delivers freedom from ambition and fear, while Christ offers freedom from "existential grayness.” He called on Christians to face challenges with strength joy and courage.
After Mass ended, Pope Francis met with the sick at the city's cathedral. He then traveled to a soup kitchen to have lunch with poor people from the local diocese.