Teachers and students from the Seibu Gauken Bunri Junior High School in Tokyo had the privilege of meeting with Pope Francis in the St. Damasus Courtyard of the Vatican during their school field trip to the city-state. He shared with them his thoughts on culture, dialogue and peace.
This was a rare occasion, as the Pope rarely meets with visitors in August because it is his vacation month, but he cut short his rest period to have an intimate and spontaneous dialogue with the students. The Pope has shown a special regard for Japan as he mentioned on several occasions that he wanted to be a missionary there when he was younger. The Holy Father told them he was happy that they paid him a visit and that this kind of exposure to other cultures will help them become better persons. “If we go in search of other people, other cultures, other ways of thinking, other religious, we come out of ourselves and begin that beautiful adventure that is called ‘dialogue’ ” He emphasized that dialogue is important to becoming a mature person because only when you have relations with other people, cultures and religions can you grow.
Pope Francis acknowledge that there can be misunderstandings and differences when you engage in dialogue with people who are different from you, but these differences should not result in animosity between two parties. He said that the key to resolving this is meekness and ““the ability to find people, to find culture, with peace”. He stressed that there cannot be peace if there is no dialogue. He told the young people, who are very much aware of the importance of peace given Japan’s history and current events, that all of the problems of the world are there because of a lack of dialogue. “When there is a problem, dialogue: this makes peace. And this is what I wish for you in this journey of dialogue: that you may know how to dialogue; how this culture thinks,” the Pope said. The meeting ended with a word of thanks from one of the students and then they sang their school’s anthem for the Pope.
[ via Zenit ]