To the guides and scouts of Europe gathered in Saint-Evroult-Notre-Dame-du-Bois on the occasion of their decennial meeting from August 1st to 10th, 2014


Dear Friends,

I am glad to greet you, while you are gathered for Eurojam, this year in France, in order to renew the links that unite you to God, to the others and to the whole Creation.

As your theme, you have chosen the reading from John‘s gospel in which two of the Baptist’s disciples ask Jesus: “Rabbi, where are you staying?” (John 1, 38) and the Lord says to them: “Come, and you will see” (John 1, 39). In order to know Jesus, one has to start off. On the way, we perceive that God is to be met in several ways: through the beauty of His Creation, when he takes loving action in our history, in the brotherhood and service relationships we have with our neighbour.

In Rio de Janeiro, I indicated three important steps to answer Jesus’ call: go; without fear; to serve. If we accept the Lord’s invitation to go towards Him and to experience His love that fulfils our hearts with joy, then He will take away any fear, be it fear of God, fear of the other, fear of facing the challenges of life. And He will send us to announce his love to the ends of the earth, and serve our neighbour in the most remote peripheries.

But this is only possible if we nurture our friendship with Jesus, trying to meet Him more often, especially in His Word and in His Sacraments. The Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist form a unique redeeming event in which we are configured to Jesus Christ dead and risen, becoming new creatures, members of the Church. How many generations owe to the scouting method their growth on the way to holiness, the practice of virtues and in particular the greatness of soul!

Your celebration corresponds to the centenary of the beginning of World War I. I invite you to pray for unity and peace to happen in Europe and in the world. You are true actors in this world, not only observers! I encourage you not to be afraid to face challenges in order to protect Christian values, especially the defence of life, personal development, the dignity of each person, fight against poverty and so many other fights that we have to face every day.

And when your way becomes tougher, your will remember that you are the Church’s sons and daughters. The Church is your Mother; it supports you and relies on you! You are called to love it and serve it with the joy and generosity specific to your youth. May the Virgin Mary accompany you with her tenderness, now and through your whole life!

From the Vatican, July 3rd, 2014