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September 28 2014 | ROME, ITALY

Pope Francis: "The meeting between the young and the old is the future of a people".

Today in St. Peter's Square, the Pope with the elders: "The blessing of a long life".

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"The meeting between the young and the old is the future of a people". So Pope Francis turned to the elders gathered in St. Peter's for the great day of celebration and prayer organised by the Pontifical Council for the Family "The blessing of a long life", which has gathered today tens of thousands of elderly people in St Peter's Square.

At the centre of the churchyard, near the altar, the great icon of the Presentation of Jesus at the temple, underlines the Pope's words, which the Pope had wanted also at the centre of the Meeting of Families because, he had said “it shows the reunion of three generations”.  GO TO FULL ADDRESS

After the moving embrace between Pope Francis and Pope Benedict, in a packed St. Peter's Square there have been interventions and testimonies, including that of a couple of refugees from Iraq and that of Antonia, Roman, accompanied by a young man of the Community of Sant 'Egidio that, as she herself said to the Pope, goes to visit her every week: "The days seemed empty, all the same, I felt useless - said Antonia - What has helped me to move forward, to not be discouraged, is prayer... is the great strength that helps me to reach out to others.... it is also a service, because even those that are weak, can support the others in prayer: the sick, the poor, those that are at war ...".

"The elders, the grandparents, have an ability to understand the most difficult situations: a large capacity! And how much they pray for these situations, their prayer is strong and powerful!" Pope Francis replied and added: "It is so good to go to meet an elder! Look at our youth: sometimes we see them apathetic and sad; they go to visit an elder and become joyful!". GO TO THE TEXT OF THE POPE’S ADDRESS

At the end of the homily, Pope Francis returned to the importance of the alliance between generations and concluded with these words: "The Virgin Mary shows us the way: the way of the encounter between the young and the old. The future of a people supposes necessarily this meeting: young people give the strength to make the people walk and the elderly strengthen this force with the memory and popular wisdom”. GO TO THE TEXT OF THE HOMILY

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