Pope Francis met with thousands of young people in Paraguay and, like he did in Brazil two years ago, asked them to "make a mess.”
"Make a mess, but also help to arrange and organize the mess that's been made. OK? Those two things. Make a mess and organize it well. A mess that gives us a free heart, a mess that gives us solidarity, a mess that gives us hope, a mess that lets us meet Jesus and know God, who I know is very strong. That is the mess that you must make.”
The meeting took place at Costanera, on the banks of the Paraguay River. It was the last major meeting of the Pope's trip to Latin America.
After watching musical performances, Pope Francis heard testimony from two Paraguayan youths. Liz takes care of her mother, who suffers from Alzheimer's, and also her bed-ridden grandmother. Her remarks were followed by Manuel, who has worked to help his family since he was a child.
"My mother is a miracle in my life, but I miss her very much. I play with her like I do with a child. I give her goodies, change her diapers, and wash her. These are things I give to God today. I wanted to be at World Youth Day in Brazil to see the Pope, but I could not go. I told myself: 'I will work and save money to go to Krakow.' But when the news came that you would come to Paraguay, I tearfully thanked God because I knew that he remembered me.”
"I had a very difficult childhood. I did not have the support of my parents. In reality, we were a family of scarce resources. My parents gave me to a family in the capital out of necessity. I was practically exploited, working in the capital.”
The Pope appeared moved by these stories, and he gave improvised responses. He asked the young people to have hope and to stay strong. He told them that they had to be active, and not just spectators in life.
"We don't want young weaklings, young people who are neither here nor there. We do not want young people who get tired quickly, that live tired, with a face of boredom. We need young people who are strong, with hope and strength. Why? Because they know Jesus and know God. Because they have a free heart.”
Later, he told them to live without fear and to not be afraid of dreaming. Before leaving, he greeted and spoke with the two young people who gave testimony. Afterward, he left in the Popemobile while blessing the pilgrims who filled the riverbank.