Pope makes Mary focus for next WYD

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At the conclusion of the International Youth Forum Saturday, Pope Francis announced the theme of World Youth Day 2022 to be held in Lisbon: “Mary arose and went with haste.”

“Do not tune out the voice of God, who urges you to arise and follow the paths that he has prepared for you. Like Mary, and in union with her, may you daily bring to others all your joy and love,” Pope Francis told the delegates of the International Youth Forum on 22 June.

WYD pilgrims
Pilgrims pray during Pope Francis’ World Youth Day vigil at St. John Paul II Field. Photo: CNS, Jaclyn Lippelmann, Catholic Standard

Pope Francis said that he desires young people to reflect on this verse taken from St. Luke’s Biblical account of the Virgin Mary’s visitation to her cousin Elizabeth after the Annunciation, as well as two other Bible verses.

“In the two coming years, I would ask you to meditate on these two verses: ‘Young man, I say to you, arise!’ and ‘Stand up. I appoint you as a witness of what you have seen,’” the pope said in his meeting with the youth delegates at the Vatican’s apostolic palace.

The Portugese capital set to host World Youth Day 2022 is just 75 miles from Fatima, one of the most visited Marian pilgrimage sites in the world. In Fatima, the Virgin Mary appeared to three shepherd children over the course of 1916 and 1917 with a message of peace and a request for prayer.

You, dear young people, are called to be light in the dark night experienced by so many of your friends who do not yet know the joy of new life in Jesus

“We were called to bring the light of Christ into the darkness of the world. You, dear young people, are called to be light in the dark night experienced by so many of your friends who do not yet know the joy of new life in Jesus,” Pope Francis told the International Youth Forum.

Pope Francis urged the nearly 250 participants in the International Youth Forum that the more one brings Christ to others, the more one will feel His presence in their lives.

The International Youth Forum was organized by the Vatican Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life June 19-22 to discuss how best to implement ideas from the 2018 Synod of Bishops in young people’s home dioceses around the world.

Pope Francis arrives at Panama City’s Rommel Fernandez Stadium on 27 January, to thank World Youth Day volunteers for their service in making the event a reality. Photo: CNS, Chaz Muth

“You are young people in action in a synodal Church, and this is what you have been thinking about and reflecting on during these past days,” Pope Francis said.

Pope Francis told the young adults in the forum that he hopes to see “harmonious coordination between our journey towards the Lisbon World Youth Day and our post-synodal journey.”

“You need one another, if you are to make a difference in a world increasingly tempted to divisiveness. Only if we journey together, will we be truly strong,” he said.

“With Christ, the Bread of Life who gives us strength for the journey, let us bring his fire to light up the darkness of this world!” Pope Francis said.

This article was originally published at Catholic News Agency.