We need saints without veil or cassock.
We need saints who wear jeans and sneakers.
We need saints who go to the movies, listen to music and hang out with friends.
We need saints who put God in first place, but who let go of their power.
We need saints who have time everyday to pray and who know how to date in purity and chastity, or who consecrate their chastity.
We need modern saints, Saints of the 21st century with a spirituality that is part of our time.
We need saints committed to the poor and the necessary social changes.
We need saints who live in the world and who are sanctified in the world, who are not afraid to live in the world.
We need saints who drink Coke and eat hot dogs, who wear jeans, who are Internet-savvy, who listen to CDs.
We need saints who passionately love the Eucharist and who are not ashamed to drink a soda or eat pizza on weekends with friends.
We need saints who like movies, the theater, music, dance, sports.
We need saints who are social, open, normal, friendly, happy and who are good companions.
We need saints who are in the world and know how to taste the pure and nice things of the world but who aren’t of the world.
Now, I love the sentiment of the poem. I wholeheartedly believe the Church needs lay men and women to become saints “without veil or cassock”, saints who are willing to live in the world but not of the world.
Unfortunately, this poem has been mis-attributed as a direct quote from Pope Francis at World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, an event that will continue through this week.
Thus far, the original source of the poem can not be found. The first English version of the poem appeared online as early as 2010.
Most blogs that have posted the poem attributed it Pope John Paul II, but there is no official Vatican copy or any sort of official source.
It seems most likely that this poem was written by someone in Brazil who was inspired by the words of Blessed John Paul II, and it was then translated into English years later.
What’s sad about this mis-attribution is that it means we’re missing all of the great things Pope Francis really did say in his address. A few of my favorite quotes:
“I have neither silver nor gold, but I bring with me the most precious thing given to me: Jesus Christ!” (Pope Francis, WYD 2013)
“Christ has confidence in young people and entrusts them with the very future of his mission, ‘Go and make disciples.’ Go beyond the confines of what is humanly possible and create a world of brothers and sisters! And young people have confidence in Christ: they are not afraid to risk for him the only life they have, because they know they will not be disappointed.” (Pope Francis WYD 2013).
- “We need saints.” A call from Bl Pope John Paul II (conjecturesguilty.wordpress.com)
- WYD Patron Saints: inspiring figures for everyone | ROME REPORTS TV News Agency (amhec.wordpress.com)