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Apostolic Movement

‘Young people thirst for horizons’

By: Devin Watkins - Vatican News

As young people from across the globe prepare to participate in World Youth Day in Libson, Portugal, Pope Francis sent them a video message on Friday to express his joy.

The Pope noted that over 400,000 young people have registered to take part in the event on 1-6 August 2023.

He said their desire to travel to the Portuguese capital later this year fills him with joy.

Thirst to encounter others

Young people

Pope Francis pointed out that some people may think they are traveling as tourists, but said there is likely a deeper reason for their decision.

“Any young person who goes to WYD, goes because, deep down, he or she has the thirst to participate, to share, to tell their experience and receive the experience of others. They are thirsting for horizons.”

He added that WYD offers young people the chance to expand those horizons and to “look beyond”.

“Don’t put up a wall in front of your life,” he urged them. “Walls close you in; the horizon makes you grow. Always look at the horizon with your eyes, but look, above all, with your heart.”

Breaking down walls, opening horizons

The Pope said WYD brings together people from many walks of life and cultures, and encouraged participants to open their hearts to those they will meet.

He thanked them for registering so far in advance, and expressed his hopes that others will follow their example.

“May God bless you; may the Virgin take care of you. Pray for me, for I pray for you. And don’t forget: say ‘no’ to walls, and ‘yes’ to horizons.”

Hastening toward WYD

The motto for WYD 2023 is “Mary arose and went with haste”, taken from Luke’s Gospel (1:39).

Earlier last year, the World Youth Day Press Office announced 13 patron saints to accompany young people during their journey toward and during the event.

The first WYD took place in 1986 in Rome, and was later held in Buenos Aires (1987), Santiago de Compostela (1989), Czestochowa (1991), Denver (1993), Manila (1995), Paris (1997), Rome (2000), Toronto (2002), Cologne (2005), Sydney (2008), Madrid (2011), Rio de Janeiro (2013), Krakow (2016), and Panama (2019).

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