Saturday, July 27, 2013

In Rio, Pope Hears Confessions, Dialogues With Youth

On Friday morning the Pope Francis went to the park “Quinta da Boa Vista”, nineteen kilometres from the Sumare residence. The park previously belonged to the Society of Jesus, and is now a municipal park containing the Zoological Garden and National Museum, the first scientific institution in the country and considered to be the finest Museum of natural history and anthropology in Latin America. Throughout the park numerous confessionals have been installed to allow the sacrament of confession to be imparted to the young participants in World Youth Day. One was selected for the Pope to personally hear the confession of five young people in Italian, Spanish and Portuguese. Afterwards, he proceeded by car to the meet with the archbishop of Rio in his residence, a building constructed in 1918 as the official residence of the first cardinal archbishop of Rio de Janeiro, Joaquim Arcoverde Cavalcanti de Albuquerque. The work of the architect Morales de los Rios, it is characterised by its eclectic style with architectural references to many historical monuments. During the military dictatorship, the then Cardinal Archbishop Eugenio Sales offered asylum to the regime's opponents within the Palace.

At 11.30 a.m. the Pope met briefly with eight young detainees, six boys and two girls, who gave the Pope a giant Rosary made of polystyrene. The Cross bore the words “Calendaria nunca mais” - “Calendaria: never again”, referring to the tragic event of 22 July 1993, when a group of armed men assassinated a group of children and young men at the door of the Church of the Calendaria in Rio de Janeiro. The names of the many young people killed on that day were written on the beads of the Rosary. The Pope prayed with the young people for all those who have died in violent circumstances and repeated the message “Violencia nunca mais! No more violence, only love!”

Immediately afterwards, the Pope moved on to the Chapel to greet the Religious of the Residence. From the central balcony of the Palace, the Pope prayed the Angelus with the faithful gathered in the square below and in the adjacent streets.

“I would be happy if my visit to this city were to renew, in each one of you, your love for Christ and his Church and your joy in being one with him, belonging to the Church and being committed to offering a living witness to the faith”, the Pope began.

He went on to explain the three moments in which the simple prayer of the Angelus prayer is recited, and emphasised that “it reminds us of a luminous event which transformed history: the Incarnation, the moment when the Son of God became man in Jesus of Nazareth”.

He spoke about Saints Joachim and Anne, the parents of the Virgin Mary, and commented that Mary grew up in a home in which love for God was transmitted, expressed in the warmth and love of family life. “How precious is the family as the privileged place for transmitting the faith!” he exclaimed, recalling that in many countries, as the Church celebrates Saints Joachim and Anne, grandparents' day is also celebrated. “How important grandparents are for family life, for passing on the human and religious heritage which is so essential for each and every society! How important it is to have intergenerational exchanges and dialogue, especially within the context of the family”.

The Pope mentioned that the Aparecida Document states that children and the elderly build the future of peoples: “children because they lead history forward, the elderly because they transmit the experience and wisdom of their lives. This relationship and this dialogue between generations is a treasure to be preserved and strengthened!”.

After the Angelus, the Pope proceeded to the Salon Redondo on the first floor of the Palace to meet with Archbishop Tempesta and twelve young people of different nationalities, representing each continent. After lunch, the Holy Father returned to the Sumare residence to rest before the beginning of the Via Crucis.

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