Don’t Be Afraid To Change The World, Pope Charges Youths at World Youth Day

Pope Charges Youths at World Youth Day! Pope Francis has called on youths not to let their “great dreams” of changing the world be “stopped by fear.

Speaking during his homily for the closing Mass of World Youth Day, 2023, the pope told 1.5 million weary-eyed and sleep-deprived young people in Lisbon, Portugal, that Jesus knows and loves them and has a plan for their lives.

Before revealing the location of the next World Youth Day, Pope Francis invited young people to travel to Rome for a youth celebration during the Holy Year 2025. The next World Youth Day, to take place in 2027, he continued, “will be in South Korea, in Seoul,” he said to cheers from the sizeable groups of Koreans scattered in the crowd.

In remarks after Mass, the pope also recalled the suffering of Ukraine and asked young people if he, “an old man,” could share a dream of his: “the dream of peace, the dream that young people may pray for peace, live in peace and build a peaceful future.”

Christ brought us together, says African Youths at WYD

African youths who attended the WYD at Lisbon, spoke of the joy of meeting other young people from around the world. They say they also feel strengthened in their faith by the events of WYD 2023 and wish there were a worldwide network for Catholic youths.

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For a group of Cabo Verde youth in Lisbon, the experience was a spiritual coming together and learning about the reality of other nationalities and cultures – a true spiritual conviction.

A youth from the Gambia, originally from Guinee Bissau, participating in the World Youth Day events for the first time, said she felt very blessed to be in Lisbon.

“I am delighted to be here, and I am also blessed. I feel the joy and togetherness. I am so happy that Christ brought us all together. As Christians, we are united by the body of Christ, and we have shared the love and the joy of seeing so many young people come out in great numbers -it is overwhelming!” she said.

She prays for God’s unending grace to keep the youth of Africa and elsewhere strong and untiring in their faith.

Sister Carolina of Uganda, who belongs to the Missionary Sisters of Saint Peter Claver, described her experience as the best, especially as a religious sister.

“Most youths here are under my age but full of the Spirit. It gives me hope for the future of our Church,” she said. “We have lived together, enjoyed all activities as one, talking about our faith, sharing our hardships, and seeing the Pope together. It is a very unique experience,” she added

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Elisabeth Mwanza Tembo from Zambia, who works with young people from various universities, was touched by the Way of the Cross with the Pope and by the beauty of sharing faith with youth from different nationalities.

Elizabeth was also overjoyed to see Pope Francis at a close range.

“When we were welcoming the Pope, I actually saw him from a close view. I felt exceptional, that sense of peace and holiness. That is why he is called, Holy Father -you could feel the holiness,” Elizabeth narrated.

Elizabeth concludes by reminding young people that the Holy Spirit is still moving in the Catholic Church, and youth need to work together and make a worldwide network of Catholic youth. Another young person, Mwape, a medical student at Zambia’s Levy Mwanawasa hospital and learning institution, wants to see more young people love the Church, pray more and find their space and voice within the Catholic Church itself.