Pope tells young people to work hard, aim high

Pope tells young people to work hard, aim high

People wait outside as Pope Francis meets with medical personnel at St. Louis Hospital in Bangkok Nov. 21, 2019. PAUL HARING/CNS

By UCA News

November 21, 2019

BANGKOK, Thailand— Pope Francis challenged the youth to work hard and to “never stand still in life” as he started his journey to Asia in Thailand on Nov. 20.

In a video recorded on a mobile phone, the pontiff addressed a group of young Thais who gathered at the Apostolic Nunciature Embassy of the Holy See to Thailand in Bangkok.

He urged them to open their hearts to God and to continue on walking because “a young person cannot retire at the age of 20.

“He must walk, always going further, always uphill,” he said. “Don’t spend your life on the couch, go out and make something of it, work hard,” added the pontiff.

Speaking in Spanish, the pope said those who falter must always have the strength to get up and carry on going forward.

“Some of you may say, ‘Father, I am weak and I fall so often,” he said.

“Do not worry,” he added and quoted an Alpine folk song that says: “The secret of climbing a mountain is not to think about how not to fall but how to fall and get up again.”

He advised the youth not to “let life go by each day.”

“Live your life creatively. Make progress in your life. Always step forward. Conduct yourself with sincerity. And then you will find happiness,” the pontiff told the youth.

Before leaving for his trip to Asia this week, Pope Francis sent a message to young Catholics in Vietnam’s northern dioceses who were gathered to celebrate Youth Day.

His message revolved around the word “home.”

The pope noted that in Vietnamese culture no word is as wonderful as the word “home” because it is “not only family and parenthood, but also birthplace and homeland.”

“‘Go to your home, therefore, means going on a journey that brings you back to your origins and deepens your traditional and cultural heritage,” he said.

He challenged the young Vietnamese to build a “young and joyful church-home,” full of life and fraternity.”

He told the gathering of young people not to be afraid in allowing their “beautiful Catholic identity” to “shine forth.”

Pope Francis arrived in Thailand on Nov. 20 for the first leg of his Asian tour that will later bring him to Japan.

This is the pope’s third trip to Asia — and his 32nd abroad — taking him to two Buddhist-majority countries with minority Catholic populations.

Pope Francis is the first pontiff in nearly four decades to visit Thailand where the nearly 400,000-strong Catholic community makes up a little more than 0.5 percent of the population.

The last visit from a pontiff came in 1984 by Pope St. John Paul II.