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Rome Reports

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Pope to priests and religious: Lack of vocations is a “tall tale”

This was how hundreds of priests, religious and their families received Pope Francis when he arrived at the La Macarena Entertainment Center. 

With applause, and a lot of rhythm. 

The applause became even louder when he addressed them in their native dialect. 

"Dear families, dear 'paisas'!"

Much of Pope Francis' speech was devoted to priestly and religious vocations among the youth. He said that it is not true that the current generation does not have the desire to do great things. Proof of this, he said, is that many of them spend their time volunteering.

"There are many and some are practicing Catholics, others are Catholics in the rose water, as my grandmother said. Others do not know if they believe or do not believe, but that anxiety causes them to do something for others. This concern fills volunteers around the world with young faces. It is necessary to channel the restlessness. When they do so, they feel they are part of the community and they live out the faith on the street.”

The pope said that walking in this way already allows the Holy Spirit to take action, and that this example is worth more than a thousand words. 

"On one of the trips, at WYD in Poland, I had lunch with the youth FLASH. One asked me what I would say to a friend of his that was an atheist. FLASH I answered him: look, the last thing you have to do is tell him something. He stared at me. 'Start' to do, 'start' to behave in such a way that the restlessness he has inside makes him so curious that he must ask you. When he asks for your testimony, then you can start talking. It is so important to walk, to walk the faith, to walk life.”

“Do not come to me with the story that 'there are not so many special vocations of consecration because of this crisis in which we live.' Do you know what that is? A tall tale. Clear?”

The pope also stressed the importance reading and contemplating the Holy Scriptures in ones daily prayer life. He also warned against the dangers of having ambitions that seek only positions of power, and that religious should not take advantage of the goodness of their people by receiving and accepting material benefits. 

This was the pope's last event in Medellín, as he now approaches the final day of his trip to Colombia in Cartagena.