The pope isn’t just the pastor of the world’s billion or so Catholics; he’s your pastor, too, and you can connect with him by writing him a letter.
Thousands of people write to the pope every week and, according to the Vatican, each letter is read and responded to—although not necessarily by the pope himself. The Vatican’s Office of Communications handles the letters, sorting them by language and type of letter. Simple letters of greeting go into one pile, while letters with specific requests for administrative or financial help are forwarded to the appropriate Church office.
The staff at the Office of Communications reply to all of the letters on behalf of the pope, and send some of the letters along to the pope to read. These are usually letters seeking spiritual advice, asking for prayers for personal problems, or describing some personal difficulty. The pope reads these letters with his heart, the Vatican says, as a way of staying close to the ordinary people in his care.
What would you put into a letter to the pope?
- Pour out your heart, telling him about your hopes and dreams, as well as your difficulties and struggles. Tell him what it is like to be a follower of Christ as a teenager in your situation.
- Are you facing a tough situation—the death of a friend, homelessness, your parents’ divorce? Ask for the pope’s prayers. His prayers aren’t any more powerful or effective just because of the office he holds; on the other hand, modern popes take their spiritual life very seriously, spending hours every day in prayer. Plus, it can be comforting to know that the pope—and by extension, the whole Church—is on your side.
- Read one of his letters to the youth, and respond to it. You can find these letters by searching the Internet for Vatican.va letter youth. The first results will probably be for the letter the pope writes to the youth of the world every year on World Youth Day.
The pope does not have a public e-mail address (can you imagine the spam?), but you can write the pope an old-fashioned letter at the following address:
His Holiness, Pope Francis
00120 Vatican City
Excerpted from The Ultimate Catholic Bucket List, Teen Edition: 101+ Ways to Live an Abundant Life Before You Die, or Turn 20, Whichever Comes First, from Peanut Butter & Grace.