Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "T The Holy Spirit is truly transforming us, and through us he also wants to transform the world in which we live", Pope Francesco explained to 100,000 faithful in St. Peter's Square o witness him bestowing the sacrament of confirmation on 44 young confirmands. The Mass for the candidates for confirmation and confirmed faithful is just one of the events set to celebrate the Year of Faith. Young people who receive the confirmation from all over the world, from Lebanon, India, Philippines, China, Sri Lanka, Belarus, Tonga, Congo ... Dressed in their national costume, are a sign of the universality of the Christian message, as the president of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelisation, Mgr. Rino Fisichella explained during the presentation.
In his homily, Pope Francis pointed out that the Holy Spirit " brings us the new things of God. He comes to us and makes all things new; he changes us." "You see, - he added - the new things of God are not like the novelties of this world, all of which are temporary; they come and go, and we keep looking for more. The new things which God gives to our lives are lasting, not only in the future, when we will be with him, but today as well. God is even now making all things new; the Holy Spirit is truly transforming us, and through us he also wants to transform the world in which we live. Let us open the doors to him, let ourselves be guided by him, and allow God's constant help to make us new men and women, inspired by the love of God which the Holy Spirit bestows on us! How beautiful it would be if each of you, every evening, could say: Today at school, at home, at work, guided by God, I showed a sign of love towards one of my friends, my parents, an older person!".
Referring to the first reading of the Mass (Fifth Sunday of Easter, Acts 14:21 b-27), which speaks of "many tribulations" that the disciples must undergo, the Pope explained that " difficulties and trials are part of the path that leads to God's glory, just as they were for Jesus, who was glorified on the cross; we will always encounter them in life!".
For this reason Francis urged the young confirmation candidates and all present: " Remain steadfast in the journey of faith, with firm hope in the Lord. This is the secret of our journey! He gives us the courage to swim against the tide". And here, speaking off the cuff, the Pope added: "Listen well, young people swim against the tide!". And he continued: "There are no difficulties, trials or misunderstandings to fear, provided we remain united to God as branches to the vine, provided we do not lose our friendship with him, provided we make ever more room for him in our lives. This is especially so whenever we feel poor, weak and sinful, because God grants strength to our weakness, riches to our poverty, conversion to our sinfulness. Let us trust in God's work! With him we can do great things; he will give us the joy of being his disciples, his witnesses".
And again, looking at the candidates for confirmation, he added: "Build on high ideals. We Christians are not chosen for the small things, but for big things. Hold on to the great ideals in life!".
When the moment came for the bestowing of the sacrament, the young people lined up in front of the altar and the pope, after a prayer, invited all the bishops and priests present to lay hands on the candidates. And in a gesture of familiarity, having anointed the foreheads of smiling candidates, Francis kissed them one by one.
Before concluding Mass, two of the young people confirmed, one from Spain and one from Italy greeted the Pope. Francis, thanked them and before starting the Regina Caeli prayer, reminded the confirmed that "every time we gather in prayer, we are sustained by the spiritual presence of the Mother of Jesus, to receive the gift of the Spirit and have the strength to witness to the Risen Jesus. I say this especially to you, now you have received Confirmation: May Mary help you to be attentive to what the Lord asks of you, and always live and walk according to the Holy Spirit".
After saying goodbye to all the participants - who filled the square and part of the Via della Conciliazione - the Pope made an appeal for the tragedy that occurred in Dhaka (Bangladesh), that claimed more than 300 lives. "I want to raise a prayer - he said - for the many victims caused by the tragic collapse of a factory in Bangladesh. I express my solidarity and deepest sympathy to the families mourning their loved ones and from my heart, I send a strong appeal that the dignity and safety of the worker always be protected".