Over 50,000 altar servers from Germany gathered in Saint Peter’s Square on Tuesday to hear the words of Pope Francis reported Vatican Radio. Speaking in German, the Holy Father told the present youth to accept the “mission” and “speak of Jesus to your contemporaries.”
The German altar servers arrived in Rome earlier this week as part of their annual pilgrimage. The 2014 slogan is “Frei! Darum ist es erlaubt, Gutes zu tun!” Translated, the phrase, taken from Matthew 12:12, means “Freedom! Because it is lawful to do good!” The 50,000 Catholic youth range in age from 14-22. Auxiliary Bishop of Freiburg, Bishop Michael Gerber, is one of the many Catholic clergy to accompany the German altar servers to the Vatican. Gerber told Vatican Radio the pilgrimage “is an opportunity to deepen their faith, and strengthen their decision to be in the Church, and to serve the Church.”
Pope Francis who speaks German along with his native Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, French, Ukrainian, Piedmontese, and Latin, the official language of the Holy See, arrived to an exuberant crowd around 6 p.m. The Pontiff drove throughout Saint Peter’s Square in his Pope-Mobile to personally greet those present. The head of the Catholic Church led an evening prayer complete with homily in the language of the visiting faithful.
In his response to questions posed from the German altar servers, Pope Francis emphasized, “the world needs people who will testify to others that God loves us, that He is our Father. Young people have a special role to play in this mission: You are called to speak of Jesus to your contemporaries, not only those within your parishes or associations, but especially to those outside.”
According to Reuters Pope Francis also insisted young people get off their devices and social media, things that he labeled “futile.” The Pontiff explained, “life is made up of time, and time is a gift from God, so it is important that it be used in good and fruitful actions.” Although Pope Francis is one of the "most influential Twitter users," the Holy Father cautions to use the Internet wisely, and remember that social media is a “network not of wires, but of people.”
It has been announced that Pope Francis might visit the United States in 2015. However, the Vatican has yet to officially declare a pontifical tour for next year.