Pope Francis recently released the message that will serve as the basis for the XXXVII World Youth Day, to be celebrated this year in Catholic dioceses on 20 November (Solemnity of Christ the King) and internationally in Lisbon from 1 to 6 August 2023.
Taking as his starting point the theme of WYD in Panama, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38), in this message, the Holy Father invites young people to walk “together with the Virgin of Nazareth” to Lisbon in 2023, and to receive “an embrace of reconciliation.
Mary reopens for everyone, and in particular for you, young people like her, the way of closeness and encounter,” Francis emphasised, stressing also that Lisbon represents “a new beginning for all humanity.
Leave in haste
In his message to young people, the Pope also questions them about what are the “rushes” that, like Mary, make them “move”. “Pandemic, war, forced migrations, climate change, poverty, violence? What is it that makes you move?”, the Pope asks.
As Francis points out, the haste of the young woman of Nazareth is the haste typical of those who “have received extraordinary gifts from the Lord and cannot help but share, to make the immense grace they experience overflow. It is the haste of one who knows how to put the needs of others above her own. Mary is an example of a young person who does not waste time begging for the attention or approval of others – as happens when we depend on those “likes” on the social networks – but moves to seek the most genuine connection, the one that comes from encounter, from sharing, from love and from service,” he underlines.
All together in Lisbon!
At the end of the message, the Holy Father renews the invitation to young people to participate in the World Youth Day in Lisbon, in August 2023, recalling the immense joy of this “encounter with God and with our brothers and sisters, after a prolonged period of distance and separation.
Archival photo © Vatican Media Photo Service