Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Jul 28, 2013 / 04:23 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- In a farewell address to the people of Brazil, Pope Francis indicated his thanks for their warm welcome and encouraged them, and the pilgrims of World Youth Day, to build up a civilization based on charity.
“Through your joyful witness and service, help to build a civilization of love,” the Pope said to the youthful pilgrims as he prepared to board a flight back to Rome at Rio de Janeiro's Galeao International Airport July 28.
“I depart with many happy memories which I know will nourish my prayers,” he said to Brazilian vice-president Michel Temer and Archbishop Orani Tempesta of Rio de Janeiro, as well as the other civil and ecclesiastical representatives who had gathered to see him off.
“Already I am beginning to miss Brazil, this great people showing so much affection and friendship. I shall miss the natural and warm smiles I have seen in so many faces.”
The Pope thanked the vice-president for “expressing the sentiments” of all Brazilians towards him, and his brother bishops for “making this week a splendid celebration of the richness and joy of our faith in Jesus Christ.” He thanked also their collaborators, and those who organized and took part in the Masses and other events.
“Finally, I wish to thank all those who in one way or another rose to the challenge of hosting and organizing the large numbers of young people.”
To the pilgrims who came with him to Rio de Janeiro, Pope Francis extended his gratitude for the “beautiful witness of your lives and for your intense and joyful participation over these last few days.”
"Many of you came here as disciples; I have no doubt that all of you will leave as missionaries."
The Pope exhorted them to show “by your life, that it is worth taking risks for Christ and his Gospel” and that “it is worth recognizing the dignity of each human person.”
Pope Francis assured Brazilians that he prayed for all human people and “in particular for all” of them at the shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida, Brazil's patron saint.
“I implored Mary to strengthen you in the Christian faith, which forms part of the noble soul of Brazil, as indeed of many other countries; this faith is your culture’s treasure and serves as encouragement and support in the task of building a renewed humanity in harmony and solidarity.”
He concluded by offering to everyone “an affectionate embrace” and begging that they pray for him.
“The Pope needs the prayers of all of you.”