Rome for many centuries was known as the “Caput Mundi” the Head of the World. In many aspects still is the Head of the World. However, for Catholics it is the city from where their lives still rule.
In a few days, The Bishop of Rome will meet with about two millions of young men and women whom are planning to have their spiritual Woodstock. For this reason, His Holiness is planning a trip to a country that is almost at end of the world, but familiar to him, since he practically lived nearby.
These large gatherings are not new. If we remember well, in 1975 Pope Paul the VI, asked the Church to let their young parishioners to take part of the International Christian Reconciliation March.
In 1984 the Cardinal Pironio, following orders of Pope John Paul II, convoked Year of the Redemption, inviting the youth from all over the world to meet in Rome.
In 1986, having Rome as its host city, we had The First World Youth. And ever since, there have been 27 World Youths meetings called by the Pope in different cities around the World. We need to cite Manila, so far was the largest with 5 million.
In the next few days will be the 28th World Youth Encounter in city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The called for this year World Youth was done by Benedict Xvi and will be preside by Pope Francis.
This World Youth, we may say, that it was drafted in Europe, but America will live and feel the joy for an entire week; America, the Continent of Hope, as our late Pope Paul VI, used to say every time he was referred to this continent. Benedict the XVI wrote a very special message for this Meeting: The Church count with all of you. All of you are the first missionaries, you who are to receive the torch from the hands of your elders and to live in the world at the period of the most gigantic transformations ever realized in its history. It is you who receiving the best of the example of the teaching of your parents and your teachers, are to form the society of tomorrow.
The Church that Pope Francis is going to find in America is a Church that has not lost its original flavor. The Church was born over five hundred years ago with the only purpose to be a missionary, prophetic and humble servant of the Gospel for all. Great developments were done since then, building universities, schools, hospitals, temples, and new cities.
That same spirit is still alive and waiting for new challenges with stronger forces to continue the work on their communities and that is the Church that Pope Francis is going to meet.
These Young men and women that will not hesitate to filled out the streets to demand respect for human rights and dignity for all kinds, a young generation that protests because feels that is not important the construction of football soccer stadiums than houses for decent living. Young people that protest because they are expending millions of dollars in preparations for Francis’s visit. Young generations that back in 1968, demanded the impossible.
Francis will Summit his Christian message of liberation from all that disrupts to live with dignity and respect. But most of all, he will send a message of life and hope, He will be challenging to these young men and women to be witness and followers of marginal Jew, who felt a the taste of poverty, exile, incomprehension, violence of death for not accepting the extortions and accommodations he was offered. The message is simple and revolutionary, however, very simple to all of us, to respect, accept and love our neighbor who is hungry, the immigrant, the person who is not important and will not count for society, or does not have a place to live.
The other world, the world that builds highways, soccer stadiums, destroys the slums houses, contaminates the air, and such, do not see Pope Francis and the Youth with sympathy nor love. They see them as dangerous and able to change history .