Pope Francis Recognizes African Children’s “lofty ambitions, great dreams” in Audience

Pope Francis meets victims of violence from the Democratic Republic of Congo’s conflict-ridden eastern region. | Vatican Media

Pope Francis has recognized the rich talent, “lofty ambitions and great dreams” that children in Africa have amid challenging situations on the world’s second-largest continent.

In his Monday, May 29 audience with children from various African nations to commemorate Africa Day, the Holy Father highlighted some of the “enormous challenges” the people of God in Africa are facing.

“Your beloved African continent is facing enormous challenges such as terrorism, bad governance, corruption, massive youth unemployment, migration, conflicts between communities, and the climate and food crisis, among others,” Pope Francis said during the meeting that was held at the Paul VI Audience Hall at the Vatican.

Against such backdrop, he told the African children, “You may feel helpless and discouraged, and think that your future is bleak and without prospects. Yet you are young and richly talented, you have lofty ambitions and great dreams: pursue them.”

“Keep seeking at least partial or imperfect ways to live what you have discerned to be your real calling,” Pope Francis said during the May 29 audience with African children at the Vatican.


Celebrated annually on May 25, Africa Day commemorates the creation of the Organization of African Unity, currently the African Union (AU).

During the May 29 audience with the children, the Holy Father said Africa Day “is a symbol of the struggle of the entire African continent for liberation, development, and economic and social progress, as well as for the strengthening and deepening of Africa’s cultural patrimony.”

Africa’s children are a sign of the continent's rich cultural diversity, he further said, and called upon children on the continent to be ambassadors of peace.

The Holy Father continued, “One of the challenges of life is the struggle for peace. As you well know, we are living in difficult times, with our human race in great danger. We are in grave danger. So live peace around you and within you.”

He urged Africa’s children to embrace the spirit of fraternity among themselves by reaching out to their suffering colleagues who are victims of conflicts and need their friendship, especially child soldiers. 

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Pope Francis also told the children to be "different (and) to bear witness to the beauty of generosity, service, purity, courage, forgiveness, the struggle for justice and the common good, love for the poor, and social friendship.”

The Holy Father who also acknowledged with appreciation the “keen intelligence” of Africa’s young people described that intelligence as one of the pillars of the continent’s riches that need to be cherished.

He went on to challenge young people in Africa to invest their intelligence and commitment in studies in view of constructively contributing to the human and integral development of the African society.

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.