Pope Francis kisses Malla Petulisa Malani, 18, of Tonga after administering the sacrament of Confirmation to her during a Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican April 28.

CNS PHOTO | PAUL HARING

Pope Francis kisses Malla Petulisa Malani, 18, of Tonga after administering the sacrament of Confirmation to her during a Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican April 28.

May 6, 2013
CINDY WOODEN
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

Administering the sacrament of Confirmation to 44 people, Pope Francis encouraged them to "swim against the tide; it's good for the heart."

In his homily at Mass April 28 in St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis encouraged young people to hang on to their ideals and pursue them.

"We Christians weren't chosen by the Lord to do little things," he said.

After making the sign of the cross with chrism oil on the foreheads of those being confirmed, Pope Francis rubbed the oil all over their foreheads, sealing them with the Holy Spirit. After wishing them peace, he gave each a quick kiss on the cheek.

An estimated 70,000 young people who have been confirmed or will be confirmed this year also were present for the Mass in St. Peter's Square, one of the major events scheduled months ago for the Year of Faith.

The 44 people receiving Confirmation came from 22 countries and ranged in age from 11 to 55-year-old Maria Silva Libania from Cape Verde. Malia Petulisa Malani, 18, traveled the greatest distance for the Mass; she is from Tonga in the South Pacific.

NEW THINGS

In his homily, Pope Francis said the Holy Spirit brings "the new things of God. He comes to us and makes all things new; he changes us."

Pope Francis told the young people that the new things the Holy Spirit brings are not like the new trends and fads of modern life; the newness of the Holy Spirit lasts forever.

"The Holy Spirit is truly transforming us and through us, he also wants to transform the world in which we live."

"How beautiful it would be," he said, if each person allowed himself or herself to be guided by the Holy Spirit.

Each night he or she would be able to review the day and say, "Today at school, at home, at work, guided by God, I showed a sign of love toward one of my friends, my parents, an older person."

Pope Francis said he wanted to be realistic; "the journey of the Church and our own personal journeys as Christians are not always easy; they meet with difficulties and trials."

But the Holy Spirit gives believers the strength and courage to overcome trials, Pope Francis said.

STRENGTH OF THE SPIRIT

"Let's not get discouraged," he said. "We have the strength of the Holy Spirit to conquer these tribulations."

"Remain steadfast in the journey of faith," the pope said. "Listen carefully, young people, swim against the tide; it's good for the heart, but it takes courage."

The Holy Spirit is the source of courage, he said. "There are no difficulties, none, no trials or misunderstandings to fear if we remain united to God."

After Mass, the pope entrusted the newly confirmed to Mary, saying she "teaches us what it means to live in the Holy Spirit and what it means to welcome the newness of God into our lives."

Pope Francis told the young people that Mary "will help you be attentive to what the Lord is asking of you and to live and walk always according to the Holy Spirit."