“Life is a journey. Always move forward, seeking happiness for yourselves and for others.” That was Pope Francis’ message to the young people participating in the annual Macerata-Loreto Night March pilgrimage that took place in the Italian towns on Saturday evening.
The event saw tens of thousands of young pilgrims walk 28 kilometers at night through the hills in the Italian “Le Marche” region from Macerata to the House of Loreto.
‘You can't stand still in life’
"[You are] brave young people who set out on your way ... It’s a good sign,” the Pope said, "because in life one cannot remain still … because a young person who stands still is like a retiree at the age of 20, and this is a bad thing." Youth, he said, is to be lived well, “so go out and bear fruit.”
‘Happiness is loving and letting oneself be loved’
"Happiness”, Pope Francis said “is not something you buy at the supermarket. Happiness comes only in loving and letting oneself be loved, that is, loving others. Wars do not give you happiness; enmities do not make you happy; gossip does not make you happy.”
"Love and service to one another is the path to happiness.”
The Pope invited them to "always go forward, looking at the horizon, taking life one step at a time.”
Thanksgiving for school year
The annual Macerata-Loreto Night March began in 1978, as an idea by Fr. Giancarlo Vecerrica, now bishop emeritus of Fabriano-Matelica. He started the pilgrimage as a way for Italian students to give thanks to Our Lady in Loreto at the end of the school year.