Pope Francis urges young entrepreneurs to bring Jesus to their cities, build the poor

Pope Francis hailed "the saints who live next door" during the COVID-19 pandemic, saying doctors and others who are still working are heroes. The pope is seen here celebrating Palm Sunday Mass behind closed doors because of the coronavirus.

Pope Francis encouraged young economists and entrepreneurs from around the world to bring Jesus to their cities, and to work not only for the poor, but with the poor.

Addressing participants of the Economy of Francesco online event, the pope said Nov. 21 that changing the world is about much more than social assistance or welfare.

“We are speaking of a conversion and transformation of our priorities and of the place of others in our policies and in the social order.”

“Let us, then, not think for [the poor], but with them.” Pope Francis added.

The Economy of Francesco, sponsored by the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Development, was a Nov. 19-21 virtual event that aimed to form 2,000 young economists and entrepreneurs from around the world to “build a more just, fraternal, inclusive and sustainable economy today and in the future.”

To do this, Pope Francis said in his video message, “calls for more than empty words: ‘the poor’ and ‘the excluded’ are real people. Let us not think for them, but with them.”

Noting the unpredictability of the future, the pope urged young adults to “not be afraid to get involved and touch the soul of your cities with the gaze of Jesus.”

“Do not fear to enter courageously the conflicts and crossroads of history in order to anoint them with the fragrance of the Beatitudes,” he continued.

Quoting St. Pope Paul VI, Francis said “development cannot be restricted to economic growth alone. To be authentic, it must be well-rounded; it must foster the development of each person and of the whole person… We cannot allow economics to be separated from human realities, nor development from the civilization in which it takes place. What counts for us is man, each individual man and woman, each human group, and humanity as a whole.”