His Holiness Pope Francis released a message on September 12 for the 37th World Youth Day 2022-2023, which will take place on August 1 – 6, 2023 in Lisbon, after it was postponed by a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The theme of the celebration is “Mary arose and went with haste.” Reflecting on the word “arise,” the Holy Father noted that “It is a word that … speaks to us of getting up from our slumber, waking up to the life all around us.”
Pope Francis emphasized that the Blessed Virgin Mary was selfless when her cousin, Elizabeth was pregnant since they were both pregnant at the same time.
“Even though the astonishing message of the angel had caused a seismic shift in her plans, the young Mary did not remain paralyzed, for within her was Jesus, the power of resurrection and new life,” he reflected.
“Within herself,” he continued, “Mary already bore the Lamb that was slain and yet lives. She arises and sets out, for she is certain that God’s plan is the best plan for her life.”
He also reflected on the words of St. Ambrose of Milan, who noted that Mary went in “haste” toward the hill country to serve Elizabeth “because she rejoiced in the promise and sought to serve others with the enthusiasm born of her joy.”
He then implored young people to consider: “How do I react to the needs that I see all around me? Do I think immediately of some reason not to get involved? Or do I show interest and willingness to help?”
The Holy Father is hoping that the young people will attend the World Youth Day to be able to “experience anew the joy of encountering God and our brothers and sisters.”
“After a long period of social distancing and isolation, we will all rediscover in Lisbon – with God’s help – the joy of a fraternal embrace between peoples and generations, an embrace of reconciliation and peace, an embrace of new missionary fraternity!” said the Pope. (Fatima Llanza/RCAM-AOC)