YANGON, Myanmar – Pope Francis urged on Thursday the youth in Myanmar to defend human rights and justice, at a mass held in Yangon’s St. Mary’s Cathedral, the largest Catholic church in the country.
During the mass, with which the Pope concluded his state visit to Myanmar, the pontiff, perhaps in an indirect reference to the Rohingya crisis, wondered how to spread the message of positivity amid so much suffering and conflicts.
“Where is the good news when there is so much injustice, poverty and misery that cast its shadow about us and our world?” he said.
The Pope also asked the young people present at the mass to reach out to those who were suffering and to fight for human rights, justice, love and peace.
“As a good father, although it would be better to say a grandfather, I want to give you some ideas,” he joked.
He asked young people to cultivate an inner life and not to be afraid of asking questions that would lead to new thoughts and ideas.
“I ask you to shout, but not with your voices, no, I want you to shout, to be with your life, with your hearts, signs of hope for those who are discouraged, a hand outstretched for the sick, a welcoming smile for the stranger, a solicitous support for the one who is alone,” the Pope said.
“Be brave, be generous, and, above all, be happy!” concluded Pope Francis, whose speech in Italian was being simultaneously translated into the local language on screens placed outside the church.
“He has come to do good not only to Christians but to all Burmese,” said Elisabeth La Npai Nang Doi, who traveled from an internal refugee camp in Kachin state in northern Myanmar.
“It’s a unique opportunity to see and listen to the Pope, it’s the first time that a Pope has come to visit us,” said Lucas Han Lohayai, a resident of Yangon.