“Whenever a young person falls, in some sense all humanity falls. Yet it is also true that when a young person rises, it is as if the whole world rises as well. Young people, what great potential you have in your hands! What great strength you have in your hearts!”
“Today too, God is saying to each one of you: ‘Arise!’ I fervently hope that this message may help us prepare for new times and a new page in the history of humanity. Yet we cannot begin anew without you, dear young people. If our world is to arise, it needs your strength, your enthusiasm, your passion.”
Pope Francis said that Paul’s life-changing encounter with Jesus underlined the need for humility.
“St. Thérèse of Lisieux, like so many other saints, loved to say that humility is truth,” the pope recalled.
“Nowadays we fill up our time, especially on social media, with any number of ‘stories,’ often carefully constructed with backdrops, web cameras, and special effects. More and more, we want to be in the spotlight, perfectly framed, ready to show our ‘friends’ and ‘followers’ an image of ourselves that does not reflect who we really are.”
“Christ, the noonday sun, comes to enlighten us and to restore our authenticity, freeing us from all our masks. He shows us clearly who we are, for that is exactly how he loves us.”
The Vatican released pastoral guidelines in May for local celebrations to encourage Church leaders to “give more importance to the diocesan celebration of WYD.”
The guidelines 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 local celebrations, according to the guidelines.
The pope concluded his message: “I hope that all of us can experience these steps along the way as true pilgrims, and not merely as ‘religious tourists.’”
“May we be increasingly open to God’s surprises, for he wants to light up our path. May we be more and more open to hearing his voice, also through the voices of our brothers and sisters.”
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“In this way, we will help one another to arise together and, at this troubled time in our history, we will become the prophets of a new and hope-filled future! May the Blessed Virgin Mary intercede for all of us.”