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Audience with young people from the diocese of Viviers, France, 14.05.2022

This morning, in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father Francis received in audience a group of young people from the diocese of Viviers, France.

The following is the Holy Father’s address to those present:

Address of the Holy Father

Your Excellency,

Dear young people!

I am glad to receive, on eve of the canonization, your delegation from the diocese of Vivier, which is enriched with two new saints: Charles de Foucauld and Marie Rivier. The air you breathe in your diocese must be particularly healthy! Because I am not forgetting Fr. Gabriel Longueville, also from your diocese, beatified as a martyr in 2019, and whom I was able to meet in Argentina. His self-denial and care for the poorest in the parish where he worked are a model for the priests of his homeland. This succession of blesseds and future saints clearly shows the fruitfulness of your diocese, and I hope that you will be able to preserve this heritage of holiness, and also make it grow and move forward.

My wish for you today is to learn from Charles de Foucauld, so as to have that experience of God that led him to evangelize by presence. A discreet form of evangelization, yes, but a very demanding one, because it requires the witness of a coherent life, that is, one that truly conforms to the aspirations of every man who is loved by God and called to something other than fleeting pleasure or immediate and visible results. If you accept to be like yeast in the dough, as Charles of Jesus wanted to be in the Hoggar, the generations that will come after you will be able to reap the spiritual fruits.

In the meantime, I encourage you, dear young people, to base your Christian life on three E's, three keywords of Charles de Foucauld's spirituality: Évangile, Eucharistie, Évangélisation - Gospel, Eucharist and Evangelization. Here you have a whole life-plan in the school of Christ. And I also suggest you learn and meditate often on the magnificent prayer of self-surrender to God, taken from his writings: “Father, I abandon myself into your hands; do with me what you will. Whatever you may do, I thank you: I am ready for all, I accept all. Let only your will be done in me, and in all your creatures. I wish no more than this, O Lord”. May it become your prayer at times of life’s decisions and crosses. In this way you can enter into the evangelical dynamic of the Church in your diocese, a diocese that manifests the desire to live the universal fraternity of the hermit of the Sahara. I think in particular of all the scout groups that have placed themselves under the patronage of Charles de Foucauld.

From Marie Rivier, daughter of your land, devoted to the education of children, with the Congregation of the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary that she founded, I hope you will receive the desire to open the mind of the youngest to matters of God, concern for neighbour and admiration for creation. How important this is! I hope that there will still be many women of this stature, humble and courageous in making known God’s love for the little ones who ask only to learn. This desire is rooted in the Hope that does not disappoint. I entrust it to the Virgin Mary, Mother of this Congregation that is now widespread throughout the world and which continues to dedicate itself tirelessly to children, young people and the excluded.

Finally, I hope that you will leave Rome with a greater love for the Church. Tomorrow’s celebration will give you a picture of her universality and her many faces, all turned to the one Saviour. I entrust you all to the special intercession of “your” future saints, Marie Rivier and Charles de Foucauld. May they always be an encouragement and inspiration to you. From my heart I bless you and, through you, all the faithful of your diocese. And please do not forget to pray for me. Thank you!