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Pope Francis with young Italian pilgrims in Rome's Circus Maximus Pope Francis with young Italian pilgrims in Rome's Circus Maximus  (Vatican Media)

Pope to young Italians: ‘Hope overcomes misery, oppression’

In a reflection at a Saturday evening prayer vigil for over 70,000 pilgrims from all over Italy, Pope Francis invites young people to be daring in their journey of faith and to help those mired in darkness.

By Devin Watkins

Pope Francis greeted a 70,000-plus crowd of young Italian pilgrims in Rome’s Circus Maximus on Saturday evening.

The Pope encouraged them “to run towards Jesus” and their brothers and sisters “with hearts full of love, faith, and joy.

Run, don’t walk


He told them a slow pace would not do on life’s journey of faith, only “a quick step and daring leaps”.

Pope Francis told the young pilgrims that courage is needed “to dream and make present the Kingdom of God, just like Jesus.”

He said Christians are not called to shy away from suffering, defeat, and death. “God,” he said, “gave us the greatest power over all injustices and human weaknesses: Jesus conquered death by giving his life for us.”

Flame of hope in darkness


This power, said Pope Francis, impels us to seek out our brothers and sisters, no matter the darkness in which they find themselves.

“At the moment when death appears to triumph,” he said, “in reality that moment is revealed as death’s defeat.”

The Pope said the power of Jesus’ Resurrection is so contagious that history cannot resist its advance.

“Every place where life is oppressed; where violence, war, and misery reign; and where people are humiliated and trod underfoot: there hope in life can still be rekindled.”

11 August 2018, 20:30