(CNS) -- Pope Francis challenged young Chileans, telling them to always ask
themselves, "What would Christ do in my place?"
at university, when outdoors, when at home, among friends, at work, when
taunted: 'What would Christ do in my place?'" he told thousands of young
people who came from all over Latin America and Chile to a youth rally at
Santiago's Maipu shrine.
"When you go
dancing, when you are playing or watching sports: 'What would Christ do in my
place?' He is the password, the power source that charges our hearts, ignites
our faith and makes our eyes sparkle."
Pope Francis told
young people they are the protagonists who will change the church, and the
young people responded. Throughout the service they frequently shouted,
"This is the pope's young people."
He spoke of the
inspiration of St. Alberto Hurtado, founder of the Hogar de Cristo movement,
which provides vocational training and other services for young people. The
saint "had a golden rule, a rule for setting his heart ablaze with the
fire that keeps joy alive. For Jesus is that fire; everyone who draws near to
it is set ablaze. Hurtado's password was quite simple -- if your phones are
turned on, I would like you to key this in. He asks: 'What would Christ do in
people were chosen to tell Pope Francis about their dreams and hopes. Ariel
Rojas told him, "We recognize in you a way of being, a way of love."
Rojas got a loud
cheer when he told Pope Francis, "We want to help you and support you with
your faith, and we want you to know that we will help you when you are tired,
because of all the many things you have to do."
Many of the pilgrims
were wearing purple T-shirts that showed they were affiliated with the Jesuits.
One of them, Natalia Tomas, had traveled more than 500 miles from Puerto Montt.
She told Catholic News Service she is following Pope Francis' advice to
"stir things up and get out and help people."
Many of the young
people signed up to be volunteers, like Rodrigo Opazo, 16, from Colina. He told
CNS: "I want to help the pope; it makes me happy. And when I am older I
can tell my family I helped the pope."
an incredible experience," said Nicolas Merino, another papal volunteer.
"We had to help 40,000 people get into the Mass at O'Higgins Park. ... And
today I am a pilgrim here in Maipu, and I am very interested in what he says to
the young people."
"I want to
take the pope's advice and not just treat this as a one-off event, but a
catalyst for going out and inspiring others and breathing new life into the
church. That is our responsibility as young people," he told CNS.
The meeting was
filled with symbolism because Maipu shrine, formally the Basilica of Our Lady
of Carmel, honors Chile's patron saint. There was a huge statue of her on the
stage, which the pope blessed at the end of the ceremony.
Pope Francis told
the crowd, "If you don't love your country, you don't love God."
responded by shouting "chi chi chi che che che viva Chile," a popular
chant often used at soccer matches showing a love for Chile.
The young people
presented Pope Francis with a miniature Chilean-blue cross with a red ribbon to
symbolize the blood of Christ and an alliance that all of Chile is together.
They also presented a white star. Red, white and blue are the colors of the
Later, the pope
met with professors, staff and students at the Pontifical Catholic University
of Chile. He told them they can contribute to fostering peaceful coexistence in
the country through education.
coexistence as a nation is possible, not least to the extent that we can
generate educational processes that are also transformative, inclusive and
meant to favor such coexistence," he said.
emphasized the need for the university to "progress as a community,"
and praised the evangelization efforts of the university's chaplaincy, which
"is a sign of a young, lively church that goes forth."
missions that take place each year in different parts of the country are an
impressive and enriching reality. With these, you are able to broaden your
outlook and encounter different situations that, along with regular events,
keep you on the move," the pope said.
evangelizing, he added, should not remain limited to university life because
the "present-day culture demands new forms that are more inclusive of all
those who make up social and, hence, educational realities."
can also "overcome every antagonistic and elitist approach to
learning," Pope Francis said.
prophetic role demanded of us prompts us to seek out ever new spaces for
dialogue rather than confrontation, spaces of encounter rather than division,
paths of friendly disagreement that allow for respectful differences between
persons joined in a sincere effort to advance as a community towards a renewed
national coexistence," the pope said.