Pope issues special message for the ACYF

Pope Francis greets a boy during his general audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican on January 11, 2017. Photo: CNS

With just over a month to go before the Australian Catholic Youth Festival kicks off in Sydney, Pope Francis has sent a message to Australia’s young people assuring them of his prayers and spiritual closeness and his hope that the festival will be an occasion for them to “deepen their relationship with the Lord”.

Imparting an apostolic blessing, he wrote that he hoped “the graces of this meeting may increase in young people the desire to recommit themselves to daily prayer, to reading of the Sacred Scriptures, and to a faith-filled participation in the Eucharistic Sacrifice.

“In this way, the festival will be an occasion for young Catholics of the nation to deepen their relationship with the Lord and to offer the Church and society the message of faith which is a ‘flame that grows stronger the more it is shared and passed on, so that everyone may know, love, and confess Jesus Christ, the Lord of Life and History’,” the Holy Father wrote.

Pope Francis sees Catholic youth around the globe as essential to the new evangelisation called for by all popes of the last several decades.

He commended all present throughout the festival and their families to the intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church.

Group registrations for ACYF have now closed, but individuals can still register at youthfestival.catholic.org.au