Youth who lunched with pope laud his Christ-like humility

In a press briefing with journalists following their lunch with Pope Francis, a Chinese and a Pakistani youth recall meeting the pontiff, stating that he was like a humble father who wanted to be near them.
“He told us what the message of the Pope is for us, for the youth, for the whole world,” that it is “to evangelize with the Bible, evangelize with the words of Jesus. In my eyes, the Pope is living the life of Jesus. He’s a living Jesus,” Alexander John told journalists during an Aug. 15 press briefing.
From Karachi, Pakistan, the 33 year-old youth coordinator was one of 20 young Asian leaders who dined with Pope Francis this afternoon.
He was chosen, he said, by the executive secretary of Pakistan’s National Youth Commission, who told him after a meeting that “you are selected to have lunch with the pope.”
“For me meeting the Pope is like a dream come true,” John continued, explaining that during the luncheon Pope Francis “listened to each and every single one of us, whatever we said.”
“I have never seen a person at this level. He is so down to earth, so close and so warm. He met us so humbly,” John observed, noting that “He had a short interview with each one of us. We told him our names and the countries we belong to, what we do.”
“Meeting the pope is a complete blessing. He really made my day. He really made my life.”
Pope Francis’ lunch with the young Asian leaders took place on the second of his five day trip to South Korea, which follow the theme “Rise Korea, clothe yourself in light, the Lord’s glory shines upon you.”
Before meeting with the youth he celebrated Mass in the diocese of Daejeon’s World Cup Stadium where he met with families of the victims of the Sewol ferry disaster, and afterward traveled to the Solmoe Holy Ground to celebrate the beginning of the 6th Asian Youth Day, where he arrived early and spoke to the youth in a lengthy off-script speech, given in Italian and English.
Also present during the Aug. 15 lunch was 22 year-old Suen Ka-Pop, who was the youngest of the group and works as the choir director at her home parish of Holy Redeemer Church in Hong Kong.
Recalling the moment when she first decided to attend Asian Youth Day, Suen explained to those present at the Aug. 15 press conference that it was after having an intense spiritual encounter with God that her parish priest invited her.
“One day at night I dreamed about God. At that time I was sad and cried a lot,” she said. “Then one night God suddenly appeared in my dream, and he said ‘oh my dear daughter, please don’t cry. After I woke up and I found that this dream was very real, which inspired me and touched my heart.”
“That’s when I found out that God loves me very much,” Suen stated, explaining that after that “one of the priests in my parish gave me the forms of the Asian Youth Day…I signed up immediately and payed the money immediately, therefore I’m here.”
Going on, the young choir director expressed that for her “it’s very exciting” to be at Asian Youth Day because “I used a lot of time to prepare for this event, to prepare my heart and how I can face God, and how I can face the pope.”
“Now that I’m here I find that I can make a lot of friends and also find my faith. I think that it’s very valuable to be here, and very valuable to meet all of you here.”
Recounting her lunch with Pope Francis, Suen noted that she asked him two questions, the first being an invitation to ask if he would visit Hong Kong.
When she asked “would you come to Hong Kong one day and visit us?” Suen explained that the pope responded by saying “I don’t know because I don’t know my schedule, but I will try to be with you in Hong Kong while I have time.”
The second question she asked was “What is the mission you want youth to do in the world?” to which the Roman Pontiff responded by echoing the conference theme, saying “Wake up and follow the father’s step and become a focus of Jesus Christ, and shine like a sword.”
Suen also pointed out that she gave the pope an image she had made of a Chinese Virgin Mother. Upon receiving the image, the pope said “Oh, it’s your work? It’s very nice, I like it very much.”
“Another time I was very touched and I said ‘I love you papa,’ and his response was ‘I love you too Bobo,’” referring to her nickname. She recalled how he told her “You’re such a sweet girl’ and touched my hand. Just like a father.”
“In my heart he’s very nice and friendly. He doesn’t put himself as the highest, he just always wanted to be near us.


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