Vatican City, May 18, 2021 / 12:00 pm
The Vatican released pastoral guidelines Tuesday for local World Youth Day celebrations with the aim of encouraging Church leaders to “give more importance to the diocesan celebration of WYD.”
In addition to the massive World Youth Day gatherings typically held every three years, the Catholic Church also sponsors local youth day events for which the pope sends a message each year.
Cardinal Kevin Farrell, prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life, and Fr. Alexandre Awi Mello, the dicastery’s secretary, signed the guidelines published May 18 with Pope Francis’ approval.
“Some young people cannot take part in the international WYDs because of their studies, work or financial difficulties. It would therefore be good for each particular Church to offer them the possibility, even if at a local level, of a personal experience of a ‘festival of faith’ that can be a powerful occasion for witnessing, communion and prayer similar to the international events,” the pastoral guidelines said.
Pope Francis announced last November that these local youth celebrations should take place on the Solemnity of Christ the King starting in 2021. They had formerly been held on Palm Sunday.
The guidelines said: “The key proclamation that must be addressed to young people and that must be at the center of every diocesan/eparchial WYD celebrated on the day of Christ the King is therefore: receive Christ! Welcome him as King into your lives! He is a King who came to save.”
The text outlined six “cornerstones that must be at the heart of every WYD,” whether diocesan, regional, or international. These include making the event a joyful festival of faith, an experience of ecclesial communion, an opportunity for discernment, and an experience of pilgrimage.
Young people themselves should play an active role in organizing these local youth day celebrations, according to the guidelines.