Over a three-course meal with young people, Pope Francis cracked jokes and talked soccer but also addressed the tough topics that young Catholics are grappling with today, such as abortion and euthanasia.
“I expected to be more nervous, but it was all very calm,” Joana Maria Fialho de Andrade, 24, told Catholic News Service after eating lunch with the pope at the Vatican nunciature in Lisbon on 4th August. “We all felt at home, very welcome.”
The Portuguese woman was one of 10 young people from various different countries who joined Pope Francis for lunch along with Cardinal Manuel do Nascimento Clemente of Lisbon and Cardinal-designate Américo Aguiar, an auxiliary bishop of Lisbon and executive secretary of the local organising committee for World Youth Day 2023.
She said she was struck by the pope’s comments on coherence. “It’s important to be coherent, for us to be firm in our faith and to bring this faith into all parts of our life,” she said.
“Some of us asked for advice on how young people today can face some issues that are difficult, that are very talked about-we talked about euthanasia, abortion,” Clara Yacolca Farfan, 24, from Peru told CNS. In response, she said, the pope told them to “defend life.”
Picture: Pope Francis sits down to lunch with 10 World Youth Day pilgrims from different nations in the apostolic nunciature in Lisbon, Portugal, 4th August 2023. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)