September 23, 2013 (Romereports.com) It seemed like another World Youth Day, except this wasn't Rio, but the Italian island of Sardinia. The Pope met with thousands of young people during his apostolic visit. Surrounded by applause, the Pope addressed the crowd directly, and at times mixing his Italian with Spanish.
“Some of your 'preguntas,' or rather questions. I guess I also speak a type of 'dialect' right?"
The Pope called on the youth to not abandon the Church. He specifically talked about a common trend that needs to stop.
“While reading your questions, I noticed this. The Sacrament of Confirmation. What's the name of this Sacrament? Is it Confirmation? No. The name has changed to the 'farewell' Sacrament. After this, youths leave the Church. Right? This is a failed experience.”
The Pope then encouraged them to have real hope for the future.
“As young people you can't and shouldn't lose hope. It's simply part of your nature. A young person without hope isn't young. It's someone who has aged too soon.”
Clearly referencing the use of drugs and alcohol, the Pope warned about the dangers that come when one looks for hope in all the wrong places.
“You know, these merchants of death. Those who sell death, offering a new route when you're sad, without hope, without confidence, or strength. Please do not sell your youth to these death dealers. You know what I'm talking about. All of you understand. Don't sell your life.”
It was 60 years ago that the Pope felt a strong calling to become a priest. He talked about this personal experience during his visit.
“I don't regret it. I do not! You may ask, -why?- Is it because I feel like Tarzan and I'm strong enough to keep going? No. I don't regret it because at all times, even in the darkest moments of sin, of weakness and failure, I looked toward Jesus and I believed in Him. He has never abandoned me.”
To thank him for his visit, a youth group performed for the Pope, singing and dancing to traditional music of the island of Sardinia.