By Robin Gomes
Pope Francis on Thursday urged children members of Italy’s Catholic Action lay movement to be generous with their "channels" of goodness and welcome in building a “world that is more fraternal, more supportive, more Christian”.
Azione Cattolica Ragazzi (ACR), made up of youngsters between 4 and 14 years of age, is the children’s wing of Catholic Action of Italy (AC), a lay organization under the bishops founded in 1922 for the spiritual and moral renewal of society through the education and formation of young people.
Formation to mission
Addressing some 65 children and their formators ahead of Christmas, Pope Francis pointed out that the theme of their formation this year was the Gospel episode of the encounter between Jesus and the two sisters Martha and Mary of Bethany.
The Pope said that young people from Italian dioceses were rediscovering the call to be the friends of Jesus, to know Him better and better and meet Him every day in prayer, so as to be His missionaries. He said it is a matter of transmitting the beautiful message of salvation to their peers and also to adults, that we are all loved by the Lord. This, he stressed, is the true, great, good news that God gave to the world with the coming of his Son Jesus in our midst.
The Holy Father thanked and encouraged the group in their charity which this year focused on supporting the right to food and the dignity of those who till the land.
ACR also presented the Pope their gift of personal hygiene products for the many poor who are served by the Office of Papal Charities in the Vatican. Appreciating their thoughtfulness, he said they were offering this joy to other children who experience situations of suffering and moments of difficulty, especially the lonely and perhaps also mistreated.
“Be generous with all of you "channels" of goodness and welcome, to build a world that is more fraternal, more supportive and more Christian,” he urged.