VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis told a group of young women and men that as Catholic Scouts they have a “noble mission” to witness to the Gospel with their faith, service and care of creation.

The French Scouts, with their commitment to helping others, are also “called to work for a more ‘outgoing’ church and for a more human world,” the pope told the young people May 14 at a Vatican meeting celebrating the 50th anniversary of the founding of the French national organization for Catholic scouting.

“I urge you to be both dynamic Christians and faithful scouts,” he told them.

In a world where interpersonal relationships seem to be difficult and where young people seem to lack “trustworthy role models,” he said, scouting helps.

Even during the coronavirus pandemic when it wasn’t always possible to meet in person, scouting has been “a sign of encouragement to young people, because it invites them to dream and to act, to have the courage to look to the future with hope.”

“I ask you not to be discouraged by the selfishness of the world, not to close in on yourselves, not to be inert young people, without ideals and without dreams,” he told them. “Never lose sight of the fact that the Lord is calling you all to fearlessly carry the missionary message wherever you are, especially among young people, in your neighborhoods, in sports, when you go out with friends, when you volunteer or at work.”

“Always and everywhere share the joy of the Gospel that makes you live,” Pope Francis said. “The Lord wants you to be his disciples and to spread light and hope, because he counts on your boldness, your courage and your enthusiasm.”

Scouting’s outdoor activities are very important, too, he said.

“Thanks to your relationship with nature, you carry the message that respect for others and for the environment go hand in hand and that therefore ‘we cannot delude ourselves that we can heal our relationship with nature and the environment without healing all fundamental human relationships.'”