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In answer to the call of the Holy Father for the faithful to participate fully in this Jubilee Year of Mercy (April 22cd and the 25th), people from all over the world came to Rome – and many boys and girls from different italian towns made their ‘base camp’ in Vermicino.

giub ad 05Part of the core Mercy Jubilee attendance at Papal Audience – the pilgrims attended the weekly audience of the Pope; and entrance of Holy Doors of the 4 Rome Papal Basilicas for which the entrants receive indulgences. So, the Pilgrims went through the open Holy Doors of the 4 Papal Basilicas of Rome:
•    the Basilica of St Peter;
•    the Basilica of St Paul;
•    the. Basilica of St Mary Major (Maria Maggiore) and
•    the Archbasilica of St John Lateran, the Cathedral of Rome.
These Holy Doors of Mercy represent the door of Courage, to get rid of our masks and show ourselves as we really are; the door of Hospitality, to appreciate the good which is inside of each of us; the door of Trust, for encounters with other people to be more genuine; and the door of Gratitude, to be grateful for the gifts we, and others, have received. Ideally, we also connected to Aachen, where we went to meet Frances Schervier. With her, we entered the door of Generosity: Frances showed us how she experienced mercy by being close to people in need.

giub ad 01And then we asked some questions of the young people who took part in this adventure:
•    What do you bring back with you, in your backpack?

They answered:
1.    The spirit of communion and serenity we have lived, which I will not forget, and all the help received.

2.    All the smiles, especially those shared with whom I did not know well.

3.    The memory of all the people we met and those we ‘re-encountered’ in these days.

4.    The instant trust among us.

5.    The courage to expose ourselves to other people's judgement.

6.    The discovery of strengths I did not know that I had.

7.    Gratitude, because we have experienced these days.

•    What did you leave on your nightstand?

giub ad 04They answered:
1.    The relationship I built with God which I can reprise every single day – and thenksgiving for Pope Francis' Mass, which has been meaningful to me.

2.    Masks, because I am not sure yet that I have been able to rid myself of them.

3.    The feelings I experienced in these days, which I must to learn how to manage.

4.    Reflections and questions about myself, about my relationship with God and with others; questions that I will continue to reflect upon as right moment arrive.

•    What do you leave behind?

They answered:
1.    All fake masks I used to wear, since I realised I do not need them because I can show my real being.

2.    A few little prejudices I had about some people, who actually turned out to be really friendly.

3.    Words I would have never said, and behaviours I would have never had though I have thought them in moments when I was totally negative. But I would not leave behind any of these things, not even the stress since without it we would not have been able to do what we did.

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Published: July 28, 2016