The Holy Father had a virtual meeting with youth of Russia, gathered for the 10th National Meeting of Catholic Youth of Russia, held in St. Petersburg.
“I wish you, young Russians, to be peacemakers in the midst of so much conflict, in the midst of so much polarization on all sides, which strikes our world,” said Pope Francis at an hour-long virtual meeting with some 400 young people from the Catholic Church in Russia, held on August 25, 2023.
The event has been held since 2000 and was organized this year for the first time in St. Petersburg. Young Russians from 54 cities of the Federation participated.
In introductory greetings, Archbishop of the Mother of God in Moscow, Paolo Pezzi, remarked how communication with the Pope provides a special joy and experience of unity with the universal Church.
In the address delivered in Spanish by the Pontiff to the young Russians – transmitted by the Holy See press room on August 26 – he invited them “to be sowers, to sow seeds of reconciliation, small seeds which, in this winter of war, will not germinate in the frozen ground for the moment, but will blossom in a future spring.”
After listening to the testimonies of several young people, the Pontiff repeated in his speech the main themes of his interventions at the WYD. “Don’t be the guardians of your fears, but the entrepreneurs of your dreams,” he told the young participants.
As he often proposes, the Pontiff encouraged an intergenerational alliance between the elderly and the young. The former, he explained, “dream” of “the unity of nations,” while the latter “are called to be artisans of the environment and peace.”
The young Russians are accompanied by priests, religious men and women in charge of youth ministry, and the five bishops: Paolo Pezzi, Metropolitan of the Archdiocese of the Mother of God in Moscow, and Auxiliary Nikolai Dubinin; Clemens Pickel, of the Diocese of St. Clement in Saratov; Joseph Werth, of the Diocese of the Transfiguration in Novosibirsk; and Kirill Klimovich, of the Diocese of St. Joseph in Irkutsk.