Young New Zealand woman meets Pope

A young New Zealand woman said she felt a “mix of emotions” when she met Pope Francis in July.

Fatima Leung-Wai (28) was among thirteen World Youth Day organisers chosen to have lunch with him.

Although Francis declined to list his preferred reading, he said his favourite composer is Wagner. He also says he has a “cast iron stomach” and can eat anything.

Leung-Wai, who gave up her engineer’s job to work as a World Youth Day volunteer, said the Pope described how he discovered his priestly vocation while making his confession at age 17.

He stressed the importance of regular confessions. If young Catholics dislike their regular confessor, he advised them to “find another priest”.

“As a young Catholic, trying my best to live the faith in today’s world, when it’s so easy not to believe, it was really important to meet an authority who was open, humble and at peace and would allow me to be myself,” she said.

“If you’re going to follow the church, in all your daily struggles, you need to know its leader is genuine and can be trusted. But the pope also asked us to pray for him, since it’s not easy being the church’s leader.”

A lottery was used to choose which young people would lunch with the pope.

One young woman said she had been “nervous and unsure what to expect,”. Her stress had vanished as soon as the pope arrived.

“As we sat there, he said, ‘Speak to me; I want to talk to you.’

He was really optimistic, lighthearted and humorous, and not at all stiff and severe,” she said.

“We talked about practical things, not just philosophy. It was really like being at home – and at the end, he hugged each of us, smiling, in a very Franciscan way. I felt an amazing internal peace to meet him so

Another young woman said Pope Francis advised them to be “guided by their hearts” when seeking to evangelize.

“We asked how he’d felt when he was elected pope, and he said he’d experienced the gift of inner peace from God, which is still with him.”



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News category: World.