Vatican City, 7 April 2014 (VIS) – The organising committee for the 28th World Youth Day (Rio de Janeiro, July 2013), led by Cardinal Orani Joao Tempesta, archbishop of San Paulo, was received in audience this morning by Pope Francis.

The Pontiff joked that the Brazilian people were thieves since they had “stolen his heart”, and he also took the opportunity to thank the Committee for this “theft”, since it helped quell his longing for Brazil.

He went on to talk about the difficulty of organising an event as large as the World Youth Day in Rio, and referred to the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, when Jesus asked the apostles to give food to the crowd, a clearly impossible task. “However”, he said, “the apostles were generous even though it was impossible. They gave the Lord everything they had, and Jesus multiplied their efforts. Is this not what happened on World Youth Day?”

“However, we must not only look back; we must also look to the future, strengthened by the surety that God will always multiply our efforts. Jesus says to us repeatedly, 'You give them something to eat'. So this miracle that we experienced on World Youth Day should be repeated every day, in every parish, in every community, in the personal apostolate of each one of us! We cannot rest easy knowing that many of our brethren live without power, light or the comfort of friendship with Jesus Christ, without a community of faith to welcome them, without a horizon of meaning and life”. Therefore, it is necessary to think again about these three ideas that, in a sense, summarise the entire meaning of World Youth Day: go, without fear, to serve. We must be an 'outreach Church', like missionary disciples who are not afraid to encounter difficulties, because they have already seen that the Lord multiplies our efforts, and for this reason we must always be motivated to serve, giving of ourselves without reserve, full of the joy of the Gospel”.