World Youth Day (WYD) is a worldwide encounter with the Pope and young people, which is typically celebrated every three years in a different country. The last WYD was celebrated in Krakow, Poland from July 26th to 31st, 2016 and this World Youth Day was held in Panama City, Panama from January 22nd to 27th, 2019.
WYD is open to all young people who want to take part in a festive encounter with their contemporaries centred on Jesus Christ. It is an opportunity to experience the universality of the Church; to share with the whole world the hope of many young people who want to commit themselves to Christ and others.
World Youth Day is a unique way to deepen your faith and grow closer to Christ, by means of prayer and the sacraments, together with thousands of other young people who share your interests and ambitions.
Pope Francis opened the day, saying: “With you, we want to rediscover and reawaken the Church’s constant freshness and youth, opening ourselves to a new Pentecost. As we experienced at the Synod, this can only happen if, by our listening and sharing, we encourage each other to keep walking and to bear witness by proclaiming the Lord through service to our brothers and sisters, and concrete service at that.”
At the final Mass, Pope Francis reflected on how the Gospel message ought to inspire the Church to empower young people, rather than dampen down their enthusiasm. He said: “Young people, can experience disengagement whenever you think that your mission, your vocation, even your life itself, is a promise far off in the future, having nothing to do with the present. As if being young were a kind of waiting room, where we sit around until we are called. And in the meantime, we adults or you yourselves invent a hygienically sealed future, without consequences, where everything is safe, secure and well insured.
You, dear young people, are not the future but the now of God. He invites you and calls you in your communities and cities to go out and find your grandparents, your elders; to stand up and with them to speak out and realise the dream that the Lord has dreamed for you.
Not tomorrow but now.”
Some of our YCW leaders attended the day and we hope to put up some of their reflections over the coming weeks.