Pope Francis sent a video message to Cuban youth unable to attend World Youth Day on Friday, encouraging them to have hope and to bring the Gospel to life.“Young Cubans: open yourselves to great things! Do not be afraid,” the Pope said July 29 in his message to the some 1,400 youth who are gathered in Havana for a celebration that coincides with World Youth Day.
“Dream that with you, the world can be different! Dream that Cuba, with you, can be different, and better every day. Do not give up! In this endeavour it is important that you open your heart and mind to the hope that Jesus gives.”
The Church in Cuba has organized a gathering for those who could not travel to Krakow for the encounter with Pope Francis, adopting the same themes and providing catecheses, the Way of the Cross, and opportunities to pass through a Holy Door and gain the plenary indulgence offered for the Jubilee of Mercy.
“With great hope I join with you in this moment, in which you are in harmony with the universal Church whose young heart is in Krakow,” the Pope said. “I trust that these days will be, for all, a special occasion to foster the culture of encounter, the culture of respect, the culture of understanding and of mutual forgiveness.”
Pope Francis exhorted them to “never forget that this hope is suffered; hope knows how to suffer to carry out a project, but likewise do not forget that it gives life, it is fruitful. And with this, hope will not be fruitless; rather, it will give life to others, it will create a homeland, a Church, it will do great things.”
He said, “Hope is instrumental in building ‘social friendship’, even though people may think differently. It is not necessary for us all to think in the same way.”
“We must all join together in ‘social friendship’, even with those who think in a different way. But we all have something in common: the wish to dream, and this love for the homeland. The important thing, regardless of whether we are the same or different, is to build this ‘social friendship’ with all; to build bridges, to work together. Build bridges!”
The Pope encouraged Cuba’s youth to “live the experience of listening carefully to the Gospel and then bringing it alive in your own lives, in the lives of your family and friends. … When you pray the Via Crucis , remember that we cannot love God if we do not love our brothers. When you pass through the Holy Door, let yourself be infused with this love.”
By doing this “you will learn always to look upon others with mercy, closeness and tenderness, especially those who suffer and those who are in need of help,” he said.
“Stand before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament; because in him, and only in him, will you find the strength to follow the most beautiful and constructive plan of our lives; because love is constructive, love destroys not even the enemy, love always builds up.”
He recalled St. John Paul II’s exhortation to “be not afraid”, telling them to “remember that the Master’s most beautiful wish is that you will be afraid of nothing.”
“Boys and girls, do not be afraid of anything, be free of the bonds of this world and proclaim to all, to the elderly, the sorrowful, that the Church weeps with them, and that Jesus is able to give them new life, to revive them.”