Google Doesn't Have All the Answers, Pope Says

Francis counsels young people after Mass for 30K in Bahrain
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 5, 2022 12:50 PM CDT
Look Beyond the Internet for Answers, Pope Tells Youths
A man prays before Mass on Saturday at Bahrain National Stadium in Manama, Bahrain.   (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

Pope Francis shifted gears Saturday in his visit to Bahrain to minister to the Gulf's Catholic community, presiding over a huge open-air Mass and then meeting with young people to give them a bit of fatherly advice: Don't just Google your questions about life decisions, he told them. Instead, find a parent, teacher, or grandparent who can offer guidance. After focusing on relations between Catholics and Muslims on the first two days of his four-day visit to the tiny kingdom, Francis on Saturday was treated to the multiethnic diversity of the Gulf region's Catholic community, the AP reports. It's made up mostly of South Asian migrant workers who often leave behind their families to work in construction, oil extraction, domestic and service industries.

An estimated 30,000 people, some traveling from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and other Gulf countries, packed the Bahrain national stadium for the Mass. The English-language liturgy was clearly geared toward the foreign workers, with popular English hymns and prayers in Malay, Tagalog and Tamil and a priest offering English translations of the pope's native Spanish homily. "This is actually a very huge honor," said Bijoy Joseph, an Indian living in Saudi Arabia who attended. "This is like a blessing for us to be part of our Holy Father’s papal Mass in Bahrain." It's the first visit by a pope to Bahrain, a Sunni-led island kingdom the size of New York City off the coast of Saudi Arabia. The primary aim was to participate in a government-sponsored interfaith conference to promote Catholic-Muslim dialogue, per the AP.

But for the final two days, he focused on the minority Catholic community. Francis urged the faithful to do good "even when evil is done to us" in his homily Saturday. After Mass, Francis met with several hundred young people at the Sacred Heart school, which has more than 1,200 students and faculty of 29 nationalities and a variety of faith groups, including Muslims. Francis urged them to make such friendly interfaith relations the norm. Then he offered personal advice, saying he too was once an adolescent and never made a big decision alone. "Before you go to the internet for advice, always seek out good counselors in life, wise and reliable people who can guide and help you," he said, listing parents, grandparents, or a spiritual guide. He also urged the students to keep adults on their toes. "We need your creativity, your dreams, and your courage, your charm and your smiles, your contagious joy and that touch of craziness that you can bring to every situation," he said.

(More Pope Francis stories.)

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