Archbishop Orani João Tempesta of Rio de Janeiro impressed Pope Francis with the way he handled World Youth Day in July, bringing some 3 million young people together in Brazil to meet and pray with the Pope.
Here are excerpts from the homily Tempesta gave at the Opening Mass for the 28th World Youth Day, held at Copacabana Beach.
“Dear Young People! We are beginning the Rio 2013 World Youth Day. Welcome to you all! This wonderful city has become even more beautiful with your presence! A great joy invades us: you are here!…
“To all who arrive tired by the delay of the trip or the walk: this time is to be with the Lord Jesus Christ to live as his disciple. This experience of ours will have as a consequence missionary enthusiasm! To go and make disciples!…
“During this week, Rio becomes the center of the Church, alive and young. All roads lead us here. You have come from different parts of the world to share the faith together and the joy of discipleship. That happiness strengthens us and invites us to go to the encounter of the rest of young people, to make ourselves missionaries in all nations. The best present we can give other persons is the presence of Christ, who fills us and stimulates us to love and give ourselves… We are called to be protagonists of a new world. I am certain that you will do this in your cities and countries. The world needs young people like you!
“We have just opened the Gospel in which Jesus calls Matthew to discipleship. And, in calling him, announces that He came precisely so that sinners would experience mercy…
“This sea, sand and beach and multitude make us recall the vocation of other disciples in addition to Matthew. That scenario reminds us of the boats left on the beach by those who were called by Jesus to follow Him. Today we are also called to follow the Risen Christ.
“The Master Jesus invites us to plunge into deep waters, the water of our Baptism… Christ invites us: come, my friends! We go with Him in the footprints of the Successor of Peter, of the Vicar of the Redeemer pilgrimaging through this Rio, sowing fraternity wherever we go, that we may be heralds of peace and concord, crying out to the world to live the holiness that springs from the Redeemer of Men.
“We have many barriers and injustices to surmount. We are going to build bridges instead of walls and obstacles. The whole world, through you, present in this city, needs the testimony of solidarity, sharing and acceptance of the love of Christ the Redeemer. It is the time to awaken confidence and hope that will be transformed into attitudes for a tomorrow of light.”