By editor - 24 April, 2016
“Don’t just prepare your rucksacks and your banners – but your hearts and minds as well”.
Pope Francis heard the confessions of 16 young people in St Peter’s Square on Saturday as part of this weekend’s Jubilee for teens.
The jubilee is taking place as part of the Extraordinary Year of Mercy.
The teenage boys and girls were chosen randomly from among the thousands of young people from all over the world who were participating in the Sacrament of Reconciliation before making their way through the Holy Door in Rome.
The event kicked off with a pilgrimage to the Holy Door, followed by confessions which were heard by the priests present and by Pope Francis himself, in the colonnade of St Peter’s Basilica.
In March last year, Pope Francis said people should leave the confessional “with happiness in their hearts and faces radiating hope”.
He said confession should be an experience of “peace and understanding” and never one of “torture”.
Addressing 500 seminarians and newly ordained priests at the Vatican, the Pope commented, “Everyone should leave the confessional with happiness in their hearts and a face radiant with hope even if sometimes, as we all know, it is bathed with the tears of conversion and the joy that comes from that.”
“Let yourselves be educated by the sacrament of reconciliation,” he urged priest confessors. “These people edify us. They edify us,” he added.
Later on Saturday, the teens in Rome travelled to the Olympic Stadium to hear a video message from the Pope.
This morning the young pilgrims, aged between 13 and 16, will be in St Peter’s Square for a special Jubilee Mass presided over by Pope Francis.
The Mass marks the culmination of a three-day event designed especially for youngsters from 13 to 16 years old with the theme “Merciful like the Father”
In a message published earlier this year in preparation for the Jubilee for Teens, Pope Francis wrote: “Don’t just prepare your rucksacks and your banners – but your hearts and minds as well”.
The choir from Worth School in Britain will be singing in St Peter’s Square during the papal Mass.
The youngsters at the Catholic school sing regularly for liturgies at the adjacent Benedictine abbey.
They are the first British school choir to perform alongside the prestigious Sistine Chapel singers for this event.