Pope Francis today closed the sixth annual Asian Youth Day, returning to the Daejeon diocese, where he celebrated a mass before a gathering estimated at more than 50,000.
With readings an prayers read in various Asian languages, including Tagalog, Indonesian Japanese, Hindi, and Korean and an altar made by the assembling of crosses decorated by the young Catholics from 23 countries, Francis presided over a liturgy that lasted late into the afternoon hours.
Francis once again ventured into English in his homily.
Addressing the young of Asia, Francis said they are “the heirs of a great testimony, a precious witness to Christ.”
“As young people not only in Asia, but also as sons and daughters of this great continent, you have a right and a duty to take full part in the life of your societies,” Francis said. “ Do not be afraid to bring the wisdom of faith to every aspect of social life!”
“As Asians too, you see and love, from within, all that is beautiful, noble and true in your cultures and traditions. Yet as Christians, you also know that the Gospel has the power to purify, elevate and perfect this heritage.”
He told the young that they quite able to discern what is incompatible with their Catholic faith, “what aspects of contemporary culture are sinful, corrupt, and lead to death.”
Then focusing on the positive, he said: “Let Christ turn your natural optimism into Christian hope, your energy into moral virtue, your good will into genuine self-sacrificing love! This is the path you are called to take.”
Keep close to one another, draw ever closer to God, and with your bishops and priests spend these years in building a holier, more missionary and humble Church – a Church, which loves and worships God by seeking to serve the poor, the lonely, the infirm, and the marginalized.”