Pope encourages youth to embrace marriage as ‘vocation’

Choosing marriage “takes courage” Pope tells young people

Choosing to marry “takes courage”, Pope Francis has told an assembly of young people who joined him in Assisi during his recent pilgrimage.

Undertaking his first pilgrimage as Pontiff to the famed shrine associated with his namesake, Pope Francis’ presence drew thousands of young people to the Basilica of St Mary of the Angels, where they packed the square outside to hear him speak.

Off the cuff

It is reported that, although the Pope had an official speech prepared for the gathering, he was pressed by particular questions from the youth and set aside his script to speak off the cuff on relationships, marriage and the family.

Setting such issues into the context of a modern world which values the individual over the difficulties sometimes present in relationships, the Pope acknowledged that “it takes courage to start a family”, but asserted that marriage is a “real vocation, just like priesthood and religious life are. Two Christians who marry each other have recognised in their love story the Lord’s call, the vocation to form one flesh, one life from the two, male and female.”

To the delight of the crowd, Pope Francis went on to relate the tale of a mother who had approached him for advice on how to get her son, still at home in his 30s, though in a relationship with a girl, to marry.

“I told her, stop ironing his shirts,” the Pope said.