Currents News Staff
Despite his intense trip these past days in Panama, Pope Francis was still full of energy. In his first General Audience after WYD, he joked around with these children and even took time to try this mate tea offered to him.
After each trip, the pope usually dedicates his General Audience to reflecting on his recent journey; and this one was no exception.
He said he was impressed by the parents in Panama who proudly presented their children for him to bless. He has also witnessed this in other countries.
“People held up their children when the Popemobile would pass by. It was if they were trying to say: ‘This is my pride, this is my future.’ They presented their children. There were many of them and the father and mother were proud of their children. I thought how much dignity there is in this gesture and how eloquent it is, especially during the demographic winter we are living in Europe. Demographic winter without kids, it’s hard, huh?,” said the Holy Father.
Pope Francis said he was also surprised by all the joyful pilgrims from different nationalities and cultures.
“To see all those flags together, being waved in the hands of those happy young people it was a prophetic sign. It is a sign that goes against the current sad trend of conflicting nationalism that build walls, that are closed to universality, to the encounter between peoples,” he said.
He also underlined the importance in contemplating suffering, especially during the Way of the Cross. The pope recommended everyone to pray it. He even showed a little prayer book he carries in his pocket to do the Way of the Cross when he can. The pope reiterated his message at Panama that young people must be taken seriously. Finally, he remembered St. Óscar Romero, whom he used as an example for imitation to Central American bishops.