By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Be loving and compassionate fathers to the marginalized, Pope Francis told members of the Brothers of Christian Instruction, commonly known as the La Mennais Brothers.

“Your vocation impels you to go where others do not go, to the periphery, to the people who belong to the ranks of the rejected, those wounded by life and victims,” he told the group during an audience at the Vatican April 22.

“May your presence be a source of hope for many,” especially as so many people in the world have been “disfigured by wars, indifference and the rejection of the weakest,” he said.

The pope met with brothers taking part in their general chapter meeting near Rome March 26-April 24. The delegates re-elected Haitian Brother Hervé Zamor as superior general. The congregation, made up of more than 760 brothers, is divided into 11 provinces on five continents.

The pope recognized their work in regions of the world “where poverty, youth unemployment and social crises of all kinds rage.”

“I urge you, therefore, to be fathers to those whom you are sent to, fathers who reflect the loving and compassionate face of God,” he said.

Young people have dreams, the pope said, “but today, for so many reasons, they are shattered dreams. May you help them to revive their dreams, to believe in them and to realize them!”

He also urged them to help those children who have experienced war to learn to smile again. “War does this: it makes children lose their smiles.”