Pope Francis has encouraged young Catholics to “testify joyfully that Christ is alive”, ahead of the annual diocesan celebration of World Youth Day. Source: CNA.
In his message for the diocesan celebration on November 21, released yesterday, the Pope invited youth to join a “spiritual pilgrimage leading to the celebration of the 2023 World Youth Day” in Lisbon, Portugal.
Reflecting on the dramatic conversion of St Paul the Apostle, Francis made a series of appeals to young people, reflecting on the theme of this year’s World Youth Day: “Arise! I make you a witness of what you have seen”.
“In Jesus’ name, I ask you: Arise! Testify that you too were blind and encountered the light. You too have seen God’s goodness and beauty in yourself, in others, and in the communion of the Church, where all loneliness is overcome,” Pope Francis said.
“Arise! Testify to the love and respect it is possible to instil in human relationships, in the lives of our families, in the dialogue between parents and children, between the young and the elderly.
“Arise! Uphold social justice, truth, and integrity, human rights. Protect the persecuted, the poor and the vulnerable, those who have no voice in society, immigrants.”
He continued: “Arise! Testify to the new way of looking at things that enables you to view creation with eyes brimming with wonder, that makes you see the Earth as our common home, and gives you the courage to promote an integral ecology.”
As well as international World Youth Day (WYD) gatherings typically held every three years, the Church also sponsors local youth day events for which the pope sends a message each year.