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Pope Francis arrives at encounter with young people and organizers of 'Alpha Camp' Pope Francis arrives at encounter with young people and organizers of 'Alpha Camp'  (Vatican Media)

'May Jesus become your great friend,' Pope tells young people

Pope Francis reassures young people of Alpha Camp that Jesus is their friend, their companion, whom they should turn to always, and says that God loves questions.

By Deborah Castellano Lubov

May Jesus become "your great friend," "your companion along the way," and "life," Pope Francis has told young people.

The Holy Father's remarks came in his audience with the young people of the 'Alpha Camp' he received on Friday. 

Listen to our report:

Alpha Camp is a Church-sponsored week-long camp for young people in Central Italy, dedicated to exploring life, faith and meaning.

The Pope recognized that those before him must have countless questions, and urged them to bring them forth, as "God loves questions."

Christ never abandons you and will restore you

The Holy Father reminded the youth before him of his Apostolic Exhortation to the world's young people Christus vivit where he encourages them to treasure their relationship with Christ.

"I started with these words: 'Christ is alive!  He is our hope.  In a wonderful way, He brings youth to our world and everything He touches becomes young, new and full of life…  Christ is alive and He wants you to be alive!" 

“He is in you, He is with you and He never abandons you. However far you may wander, He is always there, the Risen One. He calls you, and He waits for you to return to Him and start over again. When you feel you are growing old out of sorrow, resentment or fear, doubt or failure, He will always be there to restore your strength and your hope”

Jesus is your friend

In the Pope's address, he stressed to those gathered that Jesus, is not a 'moral precept' but a person and friend, who is close to them.

He encouraged them to turn to Him as such, and added that they should always be led by Him.

When faced with the evil that is within us and around us, the Pope insisted that we are not to evade reality nor close in on ourselves, but to shoulder, each one of us, our own share of responsibility.

Jesus, he recalled, tells us to bear “our own cross” with love and with joy. 

“Not all by ourselves, either, for that is impossible, but always with Jesus, with Him leading and ourselves following.”

Jesus loves us more than we do ourselves 

Knowing Jesus helps us to bear our daily crosses,  the Pope said, gives us true peace and security. 

“We are in the presence of Jesus, Who knows us and loves us more than we do ourselves, and Who wants each of us to find his or her own unique, personal fulfilment.”

The Holy Father recalled that when he was a young person too, at age 17, his relationship with Christ became so strong that he discovered his own vocation to be a priest.

Pope Francis suggested that it is never too early to be led and have a strong, fruitful relationship with Jesus.

He reminded them of Italian Blessed, Carlo Acutis, who died at only 17 years old.

Acutis fell in love with Christ when he received the sacrament of his first Holy Communion as a little child.

May Jesus become your great friend and life

Carlo's relationship with Christ, the Pope suggested, not only inspired the incredible work in technology that he was able to complete during his short life, but stirred Acutis' holy life which culminated in his path toward sainthood.

Pope Francis concluded by telling the young people to treasure their relationship and cultivate truly a friendship, with Jesus.

“I leave you with this hope and prayer: may Jesus become your great Friend, your Companion along the way. May the living Jesus become your life! Every day and forever.”

05 August 2022, 12:44