Vatican City, 23 April 2016 – With the Sacrament of Reconciliation, celebrated in St. Peter's Square – transformed for the occasion into the "Square of Mercy" – the Jubilee of Boys and Girls began this morning. At 11.30, the Pope joined with the many confessors below Bernini's Colonnade, and during an hour heard the confessions of sixteen young pilgrims.
In the afternoon the teenagers gathered in the Olympic Stadium, where a celebration was held with music and testimonies, inaugurated with a video message from the Holy Father, extensive extracts of which are published below:
"Thank you for accepting the invitation to come and celebrate the Jubilee here in Rome. This morning you transformed St. Peter's Square into a great confessional and you then crossed the Holy Door. Do not forget that the Door indicates the encounter with Christ that introduces us to the Father's Love and asks us to be merciful as He is merciful".
"I know you have a bandana on which the works of corporal mercy are written: keep these works in mind as they are the style of Christian life. As you know, the works of mercy are simple gestures, which form part of everyday life, enabling you to recognise the face of Jesus in the face of many people. Young people too! Young people like you, who are hungry, thirsty; who are refugees, or outsiders, or sick, and who need our help and friendship".
"Being merciful also means being able to forgive. … Let us not harbour rancour or the desire for vengeance! It serves nothing; it bores into the soul and prevents us from being happy. Let us forgive! Let us forgive and forget the wrongs against us, so that we are able to understand Jesus' teaching and be His disciples and witnesses of mercy".
"Often I attempt to call friends but I am unable to make contact as there is no service. I am sure it happens to you too, that in some places your telephone cannot find a signal. Remember that when Jesus is not in your life it is as if there is no signal. You cannot talk and are closed in on yourself. Let us always place ourselves where there is a signal! The family, the parish, school, so that in this world we will always have something good and true to say".