By Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Whether resting, traveling, working, serving others or going on a retreat, when students use their school breaks well, they are on the path to greater maturity, Pope Francis said.
"Besides recreation and rest, I know that some of you use this time to offer help voluntarily in solidarity initiatives; others devote themselves to small jobs to lend a hand to their family or to support their studies; others carve out days of silence and prayer to be with God and to receive light on their path," the pope said in a video message.
"The experiences one can have in this period will remain in your memory," he told 130 teens and young adults from 60 countries who were participating in the Global Youth Tourism Summit in Sorrento, on Italy's Amalfi coast.
The young people, aged 12-18, were spending June 27-July 3 in conferences and brainstorming sessions to come up with ideas for promoting tourism and cultural exchanges in a way that is sustainable, respects the local population and protects the environment. The summit was sponsored by the U.N. World Tourism Organization and the Italian Ministry of Tourism.
In his video message, released June 28, Pope Francis encouraged the young people "to use well and responsibly the time that is available to you: it is in this way that one grows and prepares oneself to take on more demanding tasks."
As the tourism industry recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, the pope also expressed his hope that the teens and young adults would be "messengers of hope and rebirth for the future."