'Shout with your lives, with your hearts'

Pope inspires 5,000 youngsters to be messengers of Christ in heartfelt homily
'Shout with your lives, with your hearts'

Catholic youth sit outside the cathedral as they attend Mass celebrated by Pope Francis at St. Mary's Cathedral in Yangon on Nov. 30. (Photo by Vincenzo Pinto/AFP)

Pope Francis straddled several generations when he inspired 5,000 Myanmar youths to be "brave, generous and joyful" in whatever they choose to do.

Delivering the homily at a youth Mass Nov. 30 in St. Mary’s Cathedral, Yangon, the pope challenged the youngsters to think about how they would spread the Lord's word as messengers of the Gospel.

"I would like all of you to think deeply about these questions," the pope said.  "But don’t be worried!  As a loving 'father' or better, a 'grandfather', I don’t want you to wrestle with these questions alone."

Pope Francis told the youngsters they should not be afraid of making mistakes when learning to become a disciple of Christ, and take the  "good news" to their contemporaries and friends.

"Do not be afraid to make a ruckus, to ask questions that make people think, and don’t worry if sometimes you feel that you are few and far between," the pope said.

He encouraged the youngsters to "shout with your lives, with your hearts" as a sign of hope to those who need encouragement, the sick, strangers and the lonely.

Michael Khup San Thang, 30, from Kalay Diocese, near Mandaly, shook hands with the pope after the Mass and said he could barely contain his feelings of joy and excitement.

"I heard the pope's emphasis on the role of young people as young people are the future of the church and the country, and he wants us to take part in peace," said San Thang, an ethnic Zomi.

Patrick Hkun Naung, 21, from Kachin State, was thanked God he had the opportunity to attend the Mass.

"Youth are the future of the church so the pope wants to show guidelines for Myanmar's youth to take part in a leading role in the church," he told ucanews.com.

Ethnic Karen Elis Naw Nu, 19, from Bago division in northeastern Myanmar, said it was an unexpected chance to see the pope and she was very happy she could attend the youth Mass.

"I want to share the pope's message with other young people in my villages who couldn't come and join youth Mass," she said.

Maximilian Menu, from Mandalay Archdiocese, said Pope Francis realized the greater role young people could play in changing the world.

"I hope the pope's visit will bring more motivation to youths in Myanmar to take part in church activities," Menu said.

It was one of the pope's last official functions on the Myanmar leg of his Asian trip before he flies to Dhaka for his three-day visit to Bangladesh.

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