VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Francis is urging young people to have courage and enjoy life to the full, in a personal video message he sent to a Texas diocese before leaving for World Youth Day in Poland.
The video, recorded in Spanish, was made for the Diocese of Brownsville, described by the Vatican as “one of the most impoverished areas” of the U.S. on the Mexican border.
“Play life to the full! Today, take life as it comes and do good for others,” the pope said in his message published on Tuesday (July 26). “In the world today, a game is being played out in which there is no room for substitutes: either you’re in the team or you’re out.
“Take the memories you’ve inherited, look towards the horizon and today, grasp life and carry it forward, use it productively make it fruitful.”
Young Catholics were gathering in Brownsville Tuesday to celebrate World Youth Day, a weeklong event in Poland that is expected to draw around 2 million young Catholics by the time it ends on Sunday.
“I want to be close to you,” Francis said. “I want to tell you to always look forward, always look towards the horizon, don’t let life put walls in front of you, always look at the horizon. Always have courage to want more, more, more.”
“Do not be afraid! Do not be afraid. Play life to the full!”
Around 30,000 young Americans are registered to attend World Youth Day festivities in Poland, but events are also being held in parishes and dioceses across the U.S. for the faithful who cannot make the journey.
In an interview with Vatican Radio, Paul Jarzembowski, the World Youth Day USA national coordinator, said more U.S. pilgrims were going to this World Youth Day than to any other held outside North America and young American Catholics identified with the pope’s compassion and sympathy for others.