Dear Brothers and Sisters!
For many years Palm Sunday was a very important day for young people all over the world – it was a World Youth Day on the diocesan level. Let me share some mentions and news about it.
WYD is a pilgrimage followed by young people from around the world, with the Pope and their bishops. There is an experience of faith, a place of listening to the Word of God, a place of catechesis, mission, testimony, and an experience of the universality of the Church. There is an opportunity to experience the difficulty of pilgrimages (different language, climate, culture, people, as well as housing conditions) but also a joy.
(For more information you can find here – https://www.lisboa2023.org/en/about .)
The World Youth Day, as you see, is not only a festival, but also a serious spiritual commitment. To be able to gather its fruits, it is necessary to follow a path of preparation under the guidance of your Pastors in the diocese, in the parishes, in the associations, the movements and the ecclesial communities.
We must also not forget that WYD takes place in two dimensions – diocesan and worldwide. The diocesan dimension was according to the intention of Saint John Paul II, like every Palm Sunday. The Pope writes: “The V World Youth Day 1990 will be celebrated on Palm Sunday in each of your dioceses. It is precisely the diocesan Church that you must discover. The Church is not an abstract and disembodied reality. On the contrary, it is a very concrete reality: precisely, a diocesan Church gathered around the Bishop, successor of the Apostles. It is also the parish Church that you must discover, its life, its needs and the many communities that exist and work within it. You will bring to this Church the joy and the enthusiasm you have experienced in world-wide encounters like that of Santiago and in the meetings of the movements and associations to which you belong. In this concrete Church, you young people must be living and fruitful branches; you must, that is, be conscious and responsible sharers in its mission. Welcome this Church with all its spiritual riches; welcome it in the person of your Bishops, of the Priests, of the Religious and also of your brothers and sisters in the faith; welcome it with faith and with filial love.” (Message of the St. John Paul II for the 5th World Youth Day).
The message that the Holy Father announces helps us to discover the continuous (linear) character of the next World Youth Days, and the connection between WYD in the diocesan and universal dimensions.
Last year Pope Francis decided to move the local celebrations of the World Youth Day from Palm Sunday to Christ the King Solemnity. Fr. Joao Chagas (head of the youth section of the Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life) provides an explanation for this change here: https://thetablet.org/new-date-for-local-wyd-suits-needs-of-dioceses-vatican-official-says/.
This year the World Youth Day at the diocesan level will no longer take place on Palm Sunday, but on the Christ the King Solemnity (21st Nov 2021). The theme of this day announced by Pope Francis is: “Stand up. I appoint you as a witness of what you have seen.” (cf. Acts 26:16)
Next WYD at the international level is scheduled for 2023, in Lisbon, Portugal. The theme of this day, announced by Pope Francis is: “Mary arose and went with haste.” (Lk 1:39)
I would like to invite all of you to take part in this amazing adventure!
The first initiative, which I would like to ask you is a prayer on the intention of the World Youth Day. When you are praying for WYD, you are praying for all young people, Pope, bishops, priests – for the Church! Prayer is at the same time the easiest and the most difficult thing for us.
We all see, that many things nowadays are difficult. Some people could say: “Who is thinking about joy, about traveling, about a pilgrimage to Portugal during this time?” But let’s try to look at this situation as a challenge. We know, that “everything is possible to one who has faith” (Mk 9:23) So let us pray together. Please, add this simple prayer to your daily devotions.
This is an official prayer, provided by the Local Organizing Committee in Lisbon:
Our Lady of the Visitation,
you who left in haste towards the mountain to meet Elizabeth,
lead us also to meet all those who await us
to deliver them the living Gospel:
Jesus Christ, your Son and our Lord!
We will go in a hurry, with no distraction or delay,
but with readiness and joy.
We will go peacefully, because those who take Christ take peace,
and well doing is the best wellbeing.
Our Lady of the Visitation,
with your inspiration, this World Youth Day
will be the mutual celebration of the Christ we take, as You once did.
Make it a time of testimony and sharing,
fraternization, and giving thanks,
each of us looking for the others who always wait.
With you, we will continue on this path of gathering,
so that our world will gather as well,
in fraternity, justice and peace.
Help us, Our Lady of the Visitation,
to bring Christ to everyone, obeying the Father, in the love of the Spirit!
For more information about WYD Lisbon you can find it here: https://www.lisboa2023.org/en/about
In the upcoming months, the Youth Office will be providing more information about WYD at the diocesan level and international (Lisbon).
If you need any further information, have an idea, wish to share your experience about WYD – please do not hesitate to contact me:
Rev. Emil Parafiniuk: firstname.lastname@example.org