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[Mahajanga, 8-14 October 2018]


Dear Young People,

I am glad to speak to you live. You are in my heart and in that of the Bishops of the Synod as our attention is turned towards you, young people. You came from every corner of your beautiful island for this meeting on the theme: “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God”.

This word of the angel to Mary is today for everyone, for each one of you. God addresses it to you. Just as the Lord looked at Mary and gave her grace, he looks at you with love, respect and tenderness. He knows your fears, your weaknesses. With him everything is possible. Mary put everything in his hands: do as she does; welcome this gift of God by opening your heart to the fullest. The grace of God is a treasure that we can easily forget. Because the Lord never imposes himself! He always tells us, “If you want, if you want ...”. Take the time to listen to his invitation and to respond to it with all your heart and with your generosity! What a joy to answer the call of Jesus! So many priests and consecrated persons can testify to it: Jesus gives meaning to our whole life.

You are not alone! The Church is a great family in which you will always find support and comfort; in your parishes and in your groups, through prayer, the sacraments, friendship, and the accompaniment of priests and other baptized people.

Go and announce to all that Jesus loves us, and that with him all fear disappears! Realize your dreams and work together to build your future, and your country’s future, by always seeking good for each other. I send you as messengers of peace and hope in your cities, in your villages, where you live and work. May God bless you and bless your families! I pray for you and I also ask you to pray for me and for all your bishops.

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