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Pope Francis to youth:

Have you thought about being a missionary?

Vatican City, Dec 2, 2015 / 07:16 am (CNA/EWTN News) - Pope Francis’ recent trip to Africa was the focal point of his general audience today, during which he emphasized the key role that missionaries play on the continent, and asked youth to consider it as an option for their future.

“To the youth: think about what you want to do with your life. It's the moment to think and to ask the Lord to make his will known to you,” the Pope said Dec. 2.

Recalling the many missionaries he met while in Africa last week, Francis pleaded with the youth that whatever they decide to do, “please, don't exclude this possibility of becoming missionaries, to bring love, humanity and faith to other countries.”

The Pope spoke to pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for his first general audience after returning from Africa. He traveled to the continent for a Nov. 25-30 visit that took him to Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic.

He spoke about his experience in each country, calling Kenya a land “blessed with great human and natural resources.”

The Pope addressed the U.N. headquarters while in Nairobi, Kenya’s capitol, advocating for environmental protection and the need to create sustainable, equitable and inclusive models of development. He also had strong words for the youth in creating peace and fraternity.

On his visit to Uganda, “the land of the Martyrs,” Francis said he was able to encourage the Christian community there to continue in their witness of faith and charity, “and thus to be a leaven of hope for society as a whole.”

The final phase of his trip, and the riskiest he has made yet, was to the Central African Republic, where he jump-started the Jubilee of Mercy by opening the first Holy Door in the cathedral of Bangui, the country’s capitol.

Francis said he did this “as a sign of hope and strength” for the suffering country, as well as for all of Central Africa “and for all our brothers and sisters” on the continent.

He then pointed to the special role that missionaries play on the continent, many of whom left their homeland at a young age to serve others, “leading a life of much, much work, at times sleeping on the floor.”

One elderly Italian sister he met in Bangui particularly stood out to the Pope. He recalled how during their brief conversation, the sister, 81, revealed that she had been living in CAR since she was 23 and had brought a child to Bangui on a canoe from the Congo.

Pope Francis noted how this sister had practically spent her whole life there, and explained that there are many more like her.

“This is how missionaries are: courageous,” he said, recalling how the same sister was a nurse before she came, and after studying there to become a midwife, has delivered some 3,280 babies.

“An entire life for life, for the lives of others. And like this sister, there are many, many (others): many sisters, many priests, many religious who burn their lives to announce Jesus Christ. It's beautiful to see this.”

Francis then turned to the youth, asking them to think about what they are doing in their life and what they want to do.

He asked them to think about this sister and the many others like her who have given their lives in service, often passing away in their missionary assignments.

To be a missionary, he said, “isn't proselytism,” and noted how the sister he met told him that Muslim women in Bangui go to them, “because they know the sisters are good nurses who heal well, and they don't do catechesis to convert them!”

“They give witness; then to whoever wants, they give catechesis,” he said, explaining that this is what it means to announce Jesus with one’s life.

Pope Francis closed his reflections by encouraging the youth to consider the possibility of becoming missionaries, “but not to proselytize.” Faith, he said, “is first preached with witness and then with the word. Slowly.”

Past Issues

Feb. 10, 2019

Jan. 27, 2019

Jan. 13, 2019

Dec. 23, 2018

Dec. 9, 2018

Nov. 25, 2018

Nov. 11, 2018

Oct. 28, 2018

Oct. 14, 2018

Sept. 16, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: 2018 Golf Classic; student athletes; physically challenged; Leonard Stegman; Lesson in forgiveness; Sending us on a mission

Sept. 2, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Priest crisis; Scandal; Opioid addictions; Seeds of Suicide; Leightons; St. Anne; Vincke; seminarians; Dominican Sisters; Stewardship Conference; Dead Sea Scrolls; PSR programs; Roe V. Wade

 

August 12, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Prayer and Action; Totus Tuus; Janee Bernal; Diana Ramirez; Heidy Ramirez; Bishop Gilmore honored for 20 years ministry; suicide; contraception and abortion; Dead Sea Scrolls; Humanae Vitae; certification in youth ministry; Chuck Weber; Cathedral rectory chapel; Sister Viola Heichelbech; Adam Urban

July 15, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Immigration Protest/Rally; Faith and Light Fiesta; Seeing the Dead Sea Scrolls; Corpus Christi procession; Prayers for priests; Sisters turn 100; Michael Brungardt; Gerald Vincke; Massacre in San Salvador; Action for Alex 

 

June 3, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Parish Pray for Priestly Vocations; Appeal reaches $10 million; Gangs; Seminarians; Pam Willis; Why I like being a priest; Happy Father's Day; Patricia Lujan; Tyler and Rachel Bennett; Adoption Protection Act.

May 20, 2018
KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Track meet; Beloved Sinners; Benjamin Martin retires; Smiles; Future of Fortune Telling; Hoisington mission; DofI; Getting Equipped; Spring Social; First Communion; Confirmation
KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Track meet; Beloved Sinners; Benjamin Martin retires; Smiles; Future of Fortune Telling; Hoisington mission; DofI; Getting Equipped; Spring Social; First Communion; Confirmation

May 6, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Archbishop Romero; Seeing, Touching, Tasting; Exhortation; Father Patrick Conroy; Happy Mother's Day; A child on your doorstep; Vibrant Ministries Grant; From the heart of a young father; Love Gives Life; Roman Holiday; Smartphone; retirement
Fossil Hunting

 

April 15, 2018

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Easter Vigil; Angelica Village; Colorado woman; The art of anger; Cimarron Couple; Staats; Adoption; 

Father Ultan Murphy anniversary; Coughlan; Spiritual Advisor to Hoodlums; Woman of Courage; Oration contest; Darcy Feist  

 

April 1, 2018

 

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Defending Adoption; Led by the Spirit; Knights; ABC Pregnancy Center;
Memorial of Mary; Homeless; Relics; Down syndrome abortion; Chrism Mass

 

March 18, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: SKYAC; Aleksandr Men; Fasting for Priestly Vocations; Uganda; School for deaf; Rannah Evetts; Oberle; Rachel and Doug Trombley; Oscar Romero; Paul VI; DACA

 

 

March 4, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Fasting for priestly vocations; Father Juan; Fasting and prayer;
Quest Weekend 2018; DACA; With God, anything is possible; Homelessness in our communities; Rhubarb, Kansas;
What's the point of fasting; Rite of Election; same-sex couples

 

Feb. 18, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Catholic Schools Week; Rachel Doll; Ellinwood; Great Bend; Garden City; Ness City; Dodge City; Sister Rita Schwarzenberger; Nigeria; Bishop Hermes; Fasting for Priestly Vocations; World Day for Consecrated Life; 50th Anniversary St. Dominic School; What will life be like in 50 years?

 

 

Feb. 4, 2018

 

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: March for Life; Tracy and Ross Smith; Adoption; Vibrant Ministries; Faith and Light;
Pro-Life; Mortal sin to discard elderly; DACA; Abortion; Dreamers; Human Trafficking

 

Jan. 21, 2018

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Louise Korbe; Anne Frank; Miep Gies; Home Heat; Father Solanus

 

Jan. 7, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Good news and kingdom living; dreamers; Sister Teresa Orozco; Infant Adoption; Elderly; a moral conundrum; seminarian; feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

 

 

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