“Dear children, I too look forward to learning from all of you!” said Pope Francis during his midday Angelus address on October 1, 2023, as he announced that he will meet with children from all over the world on November 6 at the Vatican.
The event, organized by the Dicastery for Culture and Education, will be titled “Let us learn from boys and girls” and will be held at the Paul VI audience hall.
“It will be a meeting that will manifest the dream each of us has: to retrieve the pure sentiments of children, for the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like children,” the Pope explained, appearing at the window of the Apostolic Palace with five children by his side, representing each continent.
“Children teach us how to be transparent in relationships, how to spontaneously welcome those who are strangers, and how to respect all of creation.”
Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus: a shining example
The same day as his announcement, the Pope sent a message to the Pontifical Society of the Holy Childhood to celebrate the 180th anniversary of their founding. This entity encourages Catholic children and young people across the world to support and pray for other children, while encouraging them to develop their faith and missionary leadership.
“As true disciples of Jesus, in fact, cultivating in us a heart similar to his, we cannot help but ardently desire that all be saved. This is how your beautiful association began, which still today, active and vibrant after 180 years, teaches so many children and young people around the world to be missionary disciples,” the Pope said.
In his message, the Pope also remembered the 150th anniversary of the birth of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, his favorite saint and a member of the Pontifical Society of the Holy Childhood since she was 8.
On “October 1, we celebrate her liturgical memorial, and it is from her that we can receive a […] precious message: With our prayer, even if we are small, we can contribute to making Jesus known and loved, silently, helping others to do good,” the Pope explained.
“Prayer – Little Saint Therese teaches us – is the first missionary action, and can reach every place in the world, every child and young person, every missionary. That is why I invite you to grow, through it, in friendship with our Savior, and in friendship among yourselves and with all the children and young people of the world, so as to be peacemakers.”