VATICAN CITY—The message of the Holy Father to young people for the 35th World Youth Day 2020, which will be celebrated on a diocesan level throughout the world, focuses on the theme of: “Young man, I say to you, arise!” (cf. Luke 7:14) The text, signed by the Holy Father on the memorial of Our Lay of Lourdes, is the first in a series of three messages dedicated to young people on the way between WYD Panama 2019 and WYD Lisbon 2022.
The key word which connects young people with these three stages on the Church’s itinerary is the verb “arise,” present in the three themes chosen by the Holy Father for the successive World Youth Days.
In his address Pope Francis reminds young people that this verb “also assumes the meaning of resurrection, of reawakening to life,” and he proposes reading the passage of the Gospel on the resurrection of the young man of Nain as a personal invitation to take the decisive step in following Christ: “The Gospel does not tell us the name of that boy resurrected by Jesus in Nain. This is an invitation to the reader to identify with him. Jesus speaks to you, to me, to each one of us, and says: ‘Arise!’ We know very well that we Christians also fall and that we must always get up again. This is why we must welcome the intervention of Christ and make an act of faith in God. The first step in accepting Christ is to arise,” says the Holy Father.
Pope Francis also recalls how the invitation to arise appears various times in the post-synodal Apostolic exhortation “Christus vivit.” And so, he underscores the link between the synodal process dedicated to young people and the journey of World Youth Day, and invites the young people themselves, as well as those involved in youth ministry, to strengthen their commitment to carrying out this exhortation, together with the Final Document of the Synod, in their daily pastoral work and in the journey towards the next World Youth Day celebrated worldwide.
The next international World Youth Day will take place in Lisbon in 2022, on the theme of “Mary arose and went in haste.” (Luke 1:39)