Pope Francis tends to draw a positive reaction from young people and the July 31, 2018, crowd in St. Peter’s Square was no exception. It was a joyful and sometimes noisy group of some 70,000 youth age 13-23, visiting from 19 nations.
They came to Rome for the 12th International Pilgrimage of Altar Boys and Girls, running from July 28 – August 4. The event is sponsored by Coetus Internationalis Ministrantium (C.I.M.).
C.I.M. is an international association for altar boys and girls C.I.M. that unites diocesan and national referents for this pastoral task in the Roman-Catholic Church.
The most important activity of C.I.M. is the organization of the international pilgrimage of altar boys and girls that takes place every four or five years in Rome. In such occasions, there is the possibility to meet altar boys and girls coming from all over the world.
Pope Francis welcomed the young people and said he admired them for coming despite the hot weather (it was in the 90s F).
“I am happy to see you in such great numbers here in Saint Peter’s Square, adorned with your colorful banners,” the Holy Father said. “Thank you very much for giving me the emblems of your pilgrimage!
“I am a pilgrim with you. You have come from many countries throughout the world, yet all of us are united by our faith in Jesus Christ. We are journeying together with him who is our peace. I thank your President, Bishop Nemet, for his kind greeting on your behalf. And now, I give the word to you, for a moment of conversation.”
The Pope then had a question-answer session with the altar servers, responding to questions submitted in different languages from different countries.