Appearing before some 11,000 young Hungarians, Pope Francis said on Saturday afternoon that “remember that no one can take your place in the history of the Church and the world: no one can do what only you can do”. In his address at the event in the Papp László Sports Arena, the pope spoke about the importance of dreams, ambitions, community-building and team-work, also highlighting the importance of silence and prayer.
Calling those in attendance in the arena his friends, the pontiff told them that “each of you is precious to Jesus, and also to me!”. “Remember that no one can take your place in the history of the Church and the world: no one can do what only you can do. Let us help each other, then, to believe that we are loved and precious, that we are made for great things. Let us pray for this and encourage one another in this!” said the pope. Speaking about the followers of Jesus, the pontiff said “Jesus does not want his disciples to be like schoolchildren who merely repeat lessons learned, but young people who are free and press ahead, fellow travellers of a God who listens to their needs and is attentive to their dreams”.
“Jesus does not shatter their ambitions, but corrects them about the right way to achieve them. He accepts their desire for greatness, but he insists on one thing that we too must always remember: it is not by stepping upon others that we become great, but by stooping to help them. We do not achieve greatness at the expense of others, but rather by serving them,” Pope Francis said. He said that Jesus “never disparages our expectations but, on the contrary, raises the bar of our desires,” adding that “Jesus would agree with a proverb of yours, which I hope I pronounce well: Aki mer az nyer (Those who dare, win the prize)”. The pope encouraged his audience “to aim high”, “put your talents to good use” and “invest in the great goals of life”.
The event was introduced by a greeting speech of the Hungarian lead bishop Ferenc Palánki, and the testimonies of four youths. The pope was presented with the gifts given by the youth that included a soccer ball carrying the signature of the legendary player Ferenc Puskás, a Rubik’s cube and a bottle of sweet wine from the Tokaj region.
Pope Francis: ‘We need a Church fluent in language of charity’
Pope Francis said “we need a Church that is fluent in the language of charity” in St. Elizabeth’s Church where he met the poor, refugees and representatives of the Greek Catholic community, in Budapest on Saturday morning. In the church, named after the Hungarian saint patron of the poor, the pope thanked the Church in Hungary for its generous and wide-ranging service to charity. “Thank you too, for having welcomed – not only with generosity but also with enthusiasm – so many refugees from Ukraine,” he said.
The pontiff afterwards heard testimonies of life including a Roma woman from Mariapocs, in north-eastern Hungary, a father and his family who fled the war in Ukraine and the Budapest-based Csak Egyet charitable foundation aiding homeless people. The pontiff said that Saint Elizabeth, to whom the Hungarian people have great devotion and affection, “spoke the language of charity”. He said that when it comes to aiding the poor, the sick and the homeless “it is not enough to provide bread to fill stomachs; we need to fill people’s hearts!” The pope said that “charity is much more than material and social assistance. It has to do with the whole person; it strives to put people back on their feet with the love of Jesus: a love that helps them to recover their beauty and their dignity”.