Pope Francis invited 7,500 children from 84 countries to the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall to share their innocence, purity, and the important lessons they offer to the world.
The event, titled “Let’s Learn from Boys and Girls,” took place on November 6, 2023.
In his address to the young audience, Pope Francis expressed his deep appreciation for the children, their accompanying adults, and the event’s organizers.
He recognized the crucial contributions of Cardinal José Tolentino, the Dicastery for Culture and Education, and Father Enzo Fortunato, who made the event possible.
The Pope also acknowledged the families and organizations whose support was instrumental in bringing the event to fruition.
Pope Francis began by reflecting on the theme of the event, “Learn from children?” He asked, “Aren’t children the ones who should learn?”
The Pope went on to emphasize the profound importance of learning from children, highlighting the valuable life lessons they continually offer to the world.
He described how children embody the beauty of life in its simplicity and the joy of being together, two divine gifts that should be cherished.
“We need to learn from you,” Pope Francis stressed. “I am always happy when I meet you because you teach me something new every time.” He encouraged the children to proclaim together, “Life is a gift! God loves us! We are all brothers and sisters!”
The Pope likened the gathering of children from all corners of the world to a family reunion in a “big house” symbolizing the universal embrace of the Church, reflecting the idea that all children, regardless of their backgrounds, should always feel welcomed, loved, and accepted.
While Pope Francis expressed his desire to personally greet each child, he recognized the impossibility due to the vast number present.
He assured the children that his words and blessings were extended to each of them and, through them, to children worldwide.
The Pope expressed his compassion for children suffering from the harsh realities of war, hunger, disease, climate disasters, and poverty, underscoring the need to work together to alleviate these challenges.
Pope Francis encouraged the young audience to always remember that life is a beautiful gift, and God loves them deeply.
He emphasized the joy of being together, communicating, sharing, and giving, urging the children to pray to the Blessed Virgin Mary for guidance and help.