Pope Francis stressed the importance of promoting and supporting young people in his address to members of the John Paul II Foundation celebrating its 35th anniversary. "Providing formation for young people is an investment for the future: young people must never be robbed of their hope for tomorrow" he said.
Pope Francis said the anniversary was a good moment to look back and draw up a balance of the work done in the past years, but also a time to look to the future with new goals and objectives.
The John Paul II Foundation was established by a Papal Decree on October 16, 1981 as a religious, educational, charitable and non-profit organization.
Pointing out that the work of the Foundation spans many countries and has benefited many students - especially in Eastern Europe - the Pope said: "I encourage you to continue in your commitment to promote and support the younger generation, so that it can face the challenges of life with evangelical sensitivity and with faith. Providing youth with formation is an investment for the future: young people must never be robbed of their hope for tomorrow!"
The Pope also commented on the soon-to-end Holy Year of Mercy saying it has inspired us to reflect and to meditate on the greatness of Divine Mercy in a time in which man, thanks to enormous progress in various fields of technology and science, "tends to feel self-sufficient, as if emancipated from a higher authority, and believes that everything depends upon himself".
"As Christians, he said, we are aware that everything is a gift from God and that true wealth is not wealth, which indeed can enslave us, but love for God that sets us free".
Pope Francis also recalled his recent journey to Poland, where, he said, he experienced the joy of faith within the World Youth Day celebrations.
He recalled the Polish Saint Faustina Kowalska and St. John Paul II whom, he said, were both apostles of Divine Mercy.
Saint John Paul II, the Pope continued, in his Encyclical 'Dives in misericordia', says that especially through his life and action Jesus revealed how love is present in the world we live in: "love at work, a love that speaks to man and embraces the whole of humanity".
"This love is particularly noticeable when in contact with suffering, injustice, poverty and all those conditions that, in various ways, manifest man's physical and moral limitations and frailty" he said.
And the Pope recalled Saint Faustina saying that in her diary, she wrote that the Lord Jesus himself had urged her to trust in Jesus' endless mercy, and to live life mercifully toward others.
"May the words, and especially the examples of the lives of these two luminous witnesses, Pope Francis concluded, always inspire your generous commitment".
The John Paul II Foundation was established by Saint John Paul II in October 1981 when he celebrated the third anniversary of his election as Pontiff. His aim was to support Catholic education in former Soviet Union countries by providing fellowships and bursaries to students from Eastern Europe.
Source: Vatican Radio