The First Vespers of the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God, a solemn celebration in the basilica of Saint Peter, was the moment chosen by the Pope to appeal to society to reflect on the place of young people in it, a society in which “we have preferred speculation over dignified and genuine work that can allow young people to take active part in the life of society”.

Pope Francis urged us to assume the “debt” we have with young people so that they should be given a “leading role” given the immaturity of society. “We have created a culture that idolises youth and seeks to make it eternal.  Yet at the same time, paradoxically, we have condemned our young people to have no place in society, because we have slowly pushed them to the margins of public life, forcing them to migrate or to beg for jobs that no longer exist or fail to promise them a future”, he said.

A message of hope

The Bishop of Rome wanted to take advantage of the last liturgical celebration of the year, in which he sang the ‘Te Deum’ of thanksgiving for the past year, to send a message of hope to young people who are required to “be a leaven for the future” but at the same time are discriminated against and even condemned “to knock on doors that for the most part remain closed”.

For the Pope, it is necessary to look at the manger to assume the challenges to ensure that young people “do not become disillusioned” and “to spur them on so that they can be capable of dreaming and fighting for their dreams”. “Looking at the manger, we see the faces of Joseph and Mary. Young faces full of hopes and aspirations, full of questions. Young faces that look to the future conscious of the difficult task of helping the God-Child to grow.”

Pope Francis wanted to request a commitment at all levels of society to “help” young people to “find, here in their land, in their own country, real possibilities for building a future.” “Let us not be deprived of the strength of their hands, their minds, and their ability to prophesy the dreams of their ancestors. If we wish to secure a future worthy of them, we should do so by staking it on true inclusion: one that provides work that is worthy, free, creative, participatory and solidary.” he said.