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Pope travels to Loreto shrine to sign youth document

March 25, 2019
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Pope Francis, white figure in the background, is framed by balusters as he celebrates Mass outside Loreto's cathedral, central Italy, Monday, March 25, 2019. Francis has traveled to a major Italian pilgrimage site dedicated to the Virgin Mary to sign a new document dedicated to today's youth. (AP Photo/Sandro Perozzi)

LORETO, Italy (AP) — Pope Francis traveled Monday to a major Italian pilgrimage site dedicated to the Virgin Mary to sign a new document dedicated to today’s youth.

Francis celebrated Mass in Loreto’s cathedral and then signed the document, which will be officially released on April 2. The text, entitled “Christ Lives,” gives Francis’ take on the October 2018 meeting of the world’s bishops on ways to better minister to today’s young people.

The meeting was dominated by discussion about how to better welcome gays into the church, give women a greater say in decision-making, and manage the Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandal.

The pope said Monday he chose Loreto, which according to tradition is the site of Mary’s home, to sign his document because it is the “house of the youth.”

“The House of Mary is also the home of the family,” Francis said. “In the delicate situation of today’s world, the family, founded on marriage between a man and a woman, takes on an essential importance and mission. It is necessary to rediscover the plan traced out by God for the family, to reaffirm its greatness and irreplaceability at the service of life and society.”

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