With a green light from his doctor, Pope Francis has assured young people that he will be with them in Portugal for World Youth Day despite his recent surgery.
« Some think that because of the illness I won’t go, but the doctor told me that I can go, so I will be with you, » the pope said in a video message released June 22 for pilgrims traveling to Lisbon, Portugal, for World Youth Day Aug. 1-6.
In the video, filmed by Auxiliary Bishop Américo Manuel Alves Aguiar of Lisbon, the pope held up a backpack with the World Youth Day logo, saying « I am ready to go. I have everything in hand because I am looking forward to going. »
The pope noted that there are only 40 days until World Youth Day begins, « like a Lent before the meeting in Lisbon. »
He then gave some advice to young people, telling them not to listen « to those who reduce life to ideas. »
« Poor people, » the pope said, « they’ve lost the joy of life and the joy of encounter. Pray for them. »
Francis encouraged young people, on the other hand, to always move forward while speaking the « three languages of life » — the languages of the head, heart and hands, which allow people to think, feel and act harmoniously.
In a separate video, the pope spoke to the workers who are preparing the infrastructure that makes World Youth Day possible. While he acknowledged that workers « don’t seem like the main characters of World Youth Day, » he said they are the ones who hold the entire celebration in place.
Pope Francis thanked them for their work and for being a « seed. »
« Because you are like a seed, you will bloom from below, » he said. « It’s not seen, » but « the fruit will show. »