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[Milan, 13-14 October 2023]



Dear young people!

I have heard that this coming month of October the “Leadership Summit” will take place in the Collegio San Carlo in Milan, and I wish to address my greeting and best wishes to you and all the participants, which I accompany with a brief reflection.

In this time, marked by grave social and climatic crises, together with your teachers and educators you are asking yourselves how you can change the world. This is very positive. Indeed, it is important that you have big dreams:  God has them too! And it is important to meet adults who do not extinguish your dreams, but who help you to interpret them and make them come true. Always compare your dreams with those of God!

If, then, you wish to live change as protagonists, I invite you to discover the boundless fascination of Jesus. He makes all things new; He reveals an authority different to that shown by the powerful of yesterday and of today. His is a way of transforming situations that does not overwhelm but uplifts, that does not constrain but liberates. Jesus transforms man from within, each one of you too, so that you can express your best energies and the talents you have to make them bear fruit. Follow Him with full confidence, thinking of your growth not as raising yourself above others, but as lowering yourself to serve others. The greatest is he who knows how to stoop to those who stumble, and take on some of their burdens, with a tenderness that is true strength.

I have seen that you want to be protagonists, making the most of the five senses that God has given us. This is wise, because reality is superior to ideas, and demands openness, attention, compassion; it requires an all-round “sensibility”. And allow me to remind you that what the masters of wisdom call the “spiritual senses” form part of this sensibility. They are not opposed to the psycho-physical ones, but rather enlighten them and strengthen them. I say this to you because yours is a Catholic educational institution, and “catholic” means precisely that it has an open and integral vision of the human person, in all his or her dimensions, what the Sacred Scriptures reveal to us and what Jesus Christ realized fully.

Dear students, cherish these opportunities the school offers you! They are not to be taken for granted. Many of your peers throughout the world, especially girls, do not even have the chance to study. Strive for them too, and fight for their rights as well. Because faith is “a flame that grows stronger the more it is shared and passed on, so that everyone may know, love and confess Jesus Christ, the Lord of life and history” (Homily at Holy Mass on the occasion of the 28th World Youth Day, Rio de Janeiro, 28 July 2013).

Thank you for your commitment. I bless you, your teachers and educators, and your families, from my heart. May Saint Charles and the Virgin Mary help you feel the joy of the Gospel and try to embody it in life. Please, do not forget to pray for me.

Rome, Saint John Lateran, 19 September 2023



Holy See Press Office Bulletin, 13 October 2023 

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