“Be courageous and seize the work you are called to do for the good of the world; do not live like you have already entered the period of retirement.”

Those were the words the leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis had for Italian young adults on Saturday.

Speaking during a lengthy question and answer session, with both prepared and off-the-cuff remarks, the pope asked young adults, “have you ever wondered where your dreams come from?”

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“Do they come from television, from your friends, are they big or small, content with as little as possible?... dreams of comfort, dreams of wellness… dreams of young people asleep?” he asked.

“I have said a few times. It is an ugly thing, young people in retirement,” he continued. “The Bible tells us that great dreams are those capable of being fruitful… of sowing peace and fraternity, sowing joy like today, behold, these are great dreams.”

“It is scary, because you could fall. But with God, do not be afraid. Go forward,” he said.

Pope Francis met with around 70,000 Italians ages 16-29 for an evening of prayer and worship in Rome’s Circus Maximus.

The teens and young adults convened in Rome Aug. 11-12 for the end of a pilgrimage organized by the Italian bishops’ conference ahead of October’s Synod of Bishops. Around 40,000 of those in attendance made a walking pilgrimage prior to arriving in Rome.

The pilgrimage was conceived as a way to ignite and strengthen the faith of Italian young people, and to pray in a particular way for the synod, which will focus on the faith and vocational discernment of young people. Youth from 195 dioceses participated.

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