"The path of Lent opens before us permeated with prayer, penitence, and charity, to prepare us to experience and to participate more deeply in Jesus Christ's passion, death, and resurrection," the Pope wrote.
"In Brazil, this preparation has found valuable support and encouragement in the Fraternity Campaign, which this year celebrates its 50th anniversary and which is colored by the spiritual overtones of the 27th World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro this July."
The Holy Father continued: "I gladly join in this Lenten initiative of the Church in Brazil and I send each and every one of you my cordial greetings in the Lord, to whom I entrust the efforts of those who are committed to helping the youth become … 'protagonists of a more just and more fraternal society inspired by the Gospel.'
"The 'signs of the times' in society and in the Church also arise through the youth," he continued, warning: "Disregarding these signs, or not discerning them, means losing opportunities for renewal. If they are part of the present then they will also be part of the future. We want the youth to be protagonists and to be integrated into the community that welcomes them, which demonstrates the confidence that the Church has in each of them. This requires guides, priests, consecrated persons, or lay persons, who remain young at heart even if they are not young in age, who are capable of walking without imposing a march, capable of solidarity and empathy, capable of giving the witness of salvation, which is nourished by faith and the following of Christ every day."