'Don't let anyone rob you of hope' ~Pope Francis
Our new Pope Francis continues to go with his relaxed approach. While speaking to thousands of children from Jesuit schools across Italy and Albania, he pushed aside his prepared speech and surprised them by asking if thy would like to ask him some questions instead. "Yes!" they shouted to cheers and applause. Teachers fretted because they hadn't prepared anything while others dreaded someone asking an awkward question! They had nothing to worry about. He answered their questions one by one and told him his decision to become a priest had been a difficult one and said he went ahead because he loved Christ. One of the most touching moments came when Teresa, a bright-eyed redhead no more than six, asked Francis flat out if he had wanted to be pope. He then told everyone that he didn't want to be a pope! The style is very different to Pope Benedict. He would take questions from young people maybe twice a year, but the questions were always submitted in advance so he could prepare a response.
But our new pope likes the freedom of the present moment. He spent 30 minutes of banter with the schoolchildren, casually making the points he has made in his homilies and speeches: about the scandal of poverty and how the world frets when the stock market dips, but cares nothing when a homeless person dies, and how everyone should learn a lesson from the poor. His final message to them was 'Don't let anyone rob you of hope'.
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