The following are the Holy Father Francis’ words of greeting to the candidates for Confirmation from the diocese of Genoa whom he received in audience this morning in the Piazzale di Santa Marta in the Vatican:
Greeting of the Holy Father
Good morning, and thank you, thank you very much for this visit!
I apologize for the delay, I have made you wait 35 minutes. I am sorry, but thank you for the visit. I heard the noise but had not finished the things I had to do first, I was in a bit of a hurry. Thank you!
The archbishop said you are candidates for Confirmation, and those who have received Confirmation. Those of you who have been confirmed, raise your hand! Ah, good, they haven’t gone, because they say that Confirmation is the “farewell Sacrament”. The young person who receives Confirmation, then goes away from the Church, is this true or not? [They reply: no!]. No, good, this is a great thing, to stay. Because with the strength of Confirmation you go forward, you go forward not only in the Church, but in your own life, each one of us, because Confirmation prepares us to become good people, good citizens, good Christians. Ahead with this.
And one thing that comes to mind, a word: “to conserve”. Because Confirmation is a gift, and we must conserve this gift, take care of the gift, do you understand? This gift must not be put away in a drawer, no: conserve it in your heart.
And how is it conserved? First of all with prayer, asking the Lord to give us the strength to go forward, that this strength of the Holy Spirit that we have all received may be conserved. And praying always, because the Lord said that if you ask, you will receive. But at times we do not ask. We forget to ask, to pray, and we know that “chi non piange non tetta” [Genoese proverb: “If you don’t cry, you don’t get any milk”]. We know this well! So, we must pray and insist that the Lord listen to us and give us the strength to keep going forward.
And the second thing is friendship among you, because in the Church we are not “me alone”, me and God, no, we are all of us, in community. This beautiful trip you are taking, this is something that will help you to move forward. Courage and moving forward, that is prayer and community, community life. Understand? [reply: yes!] Sure? [reply: yes!]
And to be generous, to have the generosity to give ourselves, each of us, to the community, to each other. They say that generosity is not a Genoese virtue, I don’t know... But this is the generosity of money: the Genoese are stingy, they say; I too have Genoese blood on my mother’s side, I understand well... But generous, always generous. Helping others and living in community. Prayer, going forward in community and generosity. Understand? [they answer: yes!].
Now two things. The first I would like to give a blessing to you all, and let us first pray to Our Lady, all together.
[recitation of the Hail Mary and blessing]
Second thing, don’t forget this outing, so communal, of fraternity, of friendship. Onwards with friendship! Forward as brothers and sisters, as good friends! Have a good day out, and thank you for visiting, and excuse the 35 minutes!