Manila's University of Santo Tomas welcomed Pope Francis along with thousands of youths. Some of which shared their stories and even hardships, face to face with the Pope.
Three teenagers gave their testimony. Leandro talked about how social media and the internet, are replacing real life interactions. Then, Rikky, a volunteer, asked about how he could best serve the poor.
"In these modern times, we somehow lose the meaning of love. Dear Holy Father, how may we love truly?”
"What more can the youth do? How can we, especially, the youth be agents of mercy and compassion?”
But perhaps the most moving testimony was this one, where Jun and Gyzelle, both former street children, talked about the pain and rejection they've experienced.
"I left home and I left my family because they could not afford to send me to school. I ate whatever I could find in the trash.”
"Why does God allow this to happen? Children are not to blame. Why are we helped only by a few people?”
"She Gyzelle, is the only one who has posed a question for which there is no answer. She wasn't even able to express it in words, but rather in tears. I invite each one of you to ask yourselves: 'Have I learned how to weep, how to cry? Have I learned how to weep for somebody who is left aside? Have I learned to weep for someone who has a drug problem? Have I learned how to weep for someone who has suffered abuse? Unfortunately, many of those who cry, do so because materialistically, they want more.”
The Pope then challenged everyone, urging them to learn how to love. But it's not just about giving, but also receiving. He added that one of the most difficult things to do, is allowing oneself to be loved.
"I'd like to ask you Rikky, a question. You and your friends are going to give. You give to help, but do you allow yourself to receive? Answer in your heart.”
Together, they also prayed for 27 year old Kristel Mae Pasadas. The young woman died in Tacloban, in a scaffolding accident, in the site were the Papal Mass was celebrated on Saturday 17th. The Pope met with her grieving family.
Throughout his visit, rain and wind have been a constant. But that didn't stop Pope Francis or the thousands of people who made it a point to see him in person. A few raincoats were just enough to get by the less than ideal weather.