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Rome Reports

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Pope Francis to altar servers: Path to holiness is not for lazy

The 60,000 young people who met with the pope passed a true test of endurance. They braved the heat beginning at 3 p.m., awaiting the Holy Father. Luckily, these hoses helped them stay cool, and music and dances kept them entertained. 

It's the 12th edition of the international pilgrimage of altar servers to Rome, a tradition that began during John XXIII's papacy.

The majority are German youth, between 14 and 23 years old, but other countries are also represented, such as the U.S., Portugal and Serbia.

Pope Francis appeared in the popemobile in the square shortly before 6 p.m., greeting the crowd and blessing them for 20 minutes. 

First, the pope thanked them for their persistence while waiting under the Eternal City's intense sun. Then, he gave his address. They asked him how to be true daily peace builders. He responded with another question to reflect upon. 

“For example, at home after a fight between siblings, do I shut down – I'm asking – do I shut down, get offended or do I try to take the first step? Do I know how to make peace through small gestures? I'm ready to ask myself: 'What would Jesus do in my place?'”

A young person from Antigua and Barbuda asked for advice on reaching other youth separated from Christ. Pope Francis said young people are the best ones to reach others their age, and he told them how to do it. 

“Not many words are needed. More important are actions, closeness, service and the silent viewing of the Holy Sacrament.

Lastly, they asked him how to reach holiness. The pope chose to make things very clear.

“Effort must be made to do good always and become saints... the path to holiness is not for the lazy. Effort must be made.”

He also recommended they put works of mercy into practice and urged them to study these works if they didn't know them, saying they will allow them to help others with whatever they need and change the world.