Vatican City, Nov 22, 2020 / 04:27 am
Pope Francis offered Mass for the Feast of Christ the King on Sunday, and afterward oversaw the traditional passing of the World Youth Day cross and Marian icon to a delegation from Portugal.
At the end of Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica Nov. 22, the World Youth Day cross and icon of Mary Salus Populi Romani were handed over to a group of young people from Portugal by young people from Panama.
The event took place ahead of the 16th international World Youth Day, to be held in Lisbon, Portugal in August 2023. The last international youth gathering took place in Panama in January 2019.
“This is an important step in the pilgrimage that will lead us to Lisbon in 2023,” Pope Francis said.
The simple wooden cross was given to youth by St. Pope John Paul II in 1984, at the end of the Holy Year of Redemption.
He told young people to “carry it throughout the world as a symbol of Christ’s love for humanity, and proclaim to everyone that it is only in Christ, who died and rose from the dead, that salvation and redemption are to be found.”
Over the past 36 years, the cross has traveled around the world, carried by young people on pilgrimages and processions, as well as to every international World Youth Day.
The 12 and a half foot tall cross is known by different names, including the Youth Cross, Jubilee Cross, and Pilgrim Cross.