Pope Francis has resumed public appearances after taking a few weeks off for his summer holiday, during which he is able to get some much-needed rest and quiet. Coming back from his holiday, the Holy Father was greeted by 70,000 young people who have gathered in Rome for the 12th International Pilgrimage of Altar Boys and Girls.
Ashley Noronha, Relevant Radio® Rome correspondent painted the picture on Morning Air®:
“If you can imagine what it’s like to have 70,000 young people from all over the world everywhere you turn in Rome. There are people you see in their different colors of t-shirts representing the different countries that they’re from. They come from nineteen different countries and they’re typically between the ages of thirteen and twenty-three. So they’re all altar servers who have taken this opportunity to have pilgrimage with the Holy Father, to come one-on-one last night with a wonderful event. It was actually an Extraordinary Papal Audience that was held in St. Peter’s Square and it was specifically for these 70,000 altar servers. There was an opportunity to ask the Holy Father questions, there were all kinds of musical representations—there were bands, there were people playing instruments and singing songs—there is just such excitement. As you walk down the streets of Rome, you find that there’s long queues for everything, because of course they’re enjoying all of the sites of the city.”
The feeling of friendship and camaraderie is evident, as these altar servers have descended upon Rome. “Another interesting thing that you can’t help but observe is the sense of excitement in the air,” said Noronha. “For example, as groups of young people pass each other they will each shout a different song or chant back and forth and it’s really a neat thing. They’ve also, they’re doing different activities and games to try to get to know each other, to try to meet new friends from around the world. So it’s just a really neat event and very exciting to have these young people.”
This event shows the world what the future of the Church looks like. “The theme of the event is Seek Peace and Pursue it! This is from Psalm 34, verse 15. And of course, the Holy Father’s words to the young people have repeatedly been about peace and I think it’s really exciting for our Church to see the future of our Church so enthused about the faith,” said Noronha.