Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Jul 28, 2013 / 14:35 pm
In his encounter of thanks with the volunteers at World Youth Day, Pope Francis exhorted the young people to make commitments, and not be afraid to follow God's will into marriage or consecrated life.
“God calls you to make definite choices … to respond to your vocation is to move towards personal fulfillment,” Pope Francis told the thousands of volunteers gathered to meet with him in Rio de Janeiro July 28, shortly before he returns to Rome.
The Pope was first addressed by two of the volunteers, one from Brazil and one from Poland. The Brazilian told that “we volunteers are here with great joy in order to bear witness” to Christ and thanked him for the visit to this country.
Victoria, the Polish volunteer, told him that “with joy we await you in our country,” and added, “we shall, with God's help, do all that is in our power in order that the next World Youth Day might be even more beautiful.” Earlier in the day, Pope Francis had announced that the next event is to be held in Krakow, the city of Blessed John Paul II, in 2016.
Pope Francis responded by saying that “I could not return to Rome” without having thanked all the volunteers for their “countless” acts of loving service to the pilgrims in Rio.
“With your smiles, your acts of kindness and your willingness to serve, you've shown it is more blessed to give than to receive.”
Their example, he said, was in the model of St. John the Baptist, who prepared the way of the Lord. “Every one of you,” he said, “was a means … to meet Jesus. And this is the most beautiful service we can give as missionary disciples, to prepare the way so that all might meet, know, and love the Lord.”
Pope Francis prayed that those who had responded to generously to the call for World Youth Day volunteers may “always be generous with God and with others. One loses nothing thereby, but gains great enrichment in life.”