The Pope invites Northern Ireland students to promote a culture of encounter

In his speech to the young people of the Catholic chaplaincy of the Queen’s University of Belfast (Northern Ireland, United Kingdom), received in audience on the morning of this Monday, April 25, Francis spoke of the realization of being a Christian as a search for truth and gift of oneself to others.

Salvatore Cernuzio – Vatican City

not only see, but “look at”, not only listen, but “to listen”. Not just walking past people, but “stop” Y “engage with them”. That’s how he “culture of encounter” that Pope Francis has entrusted as a priority mission to the students of the Catholic chaplaincy of Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland. A group of 25 young people was received this morning at the Apostolic Palace, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the University chaplaincy.

Behave like Jesus

In his address to the youth of Northern Ireland, recorded at the beginning of the audience, the Pope asks them to deepen their understanding and appreciation of the “intellectual and spiritual wealth of the Catholic tradition” and at the same time“in a truly evangelical spirit”, cultivate “the culture of encounter between you and in the university community”. Because everything starts from the encounter: the Christian faith itself, underlines the Sovereign Pontiff, “It is essentially an encounter with Jesus Christ.”

“If we truly believe in Jesus, we should try to behave like Jesus: reaching out to others, meeting those around us, to share with them the saving truth of the Gospel. As people, and above all as Christians, we are made in such a way that we can only live, grow and fulfill ourselves in the search for truth and in the sincere gift of ourselves to others”.

Embodies the traditions of Northern Ireland

What the Pope asks of students is a personal commitment to people, cultivating ties: “We support each other in our search for the truth and we strive to weave a network of relationships that can make our life together a true experience of fraternity, a solidarity caravan, a holy pilgrimage”, Francois explains.

Therefore, each young person can, in his own way, become “promoter of this culture of encounter in the university environment” and thus contribute “keep alive the noble Irish traditions of hospitality, reconciliation, fidelity to the Gospel and perseverance in the pursuit of holiness”. Hence this last wish on the part of the Holy Father: “May they continue to be a community of faith and friendship in the heart of the university campus.”


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