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VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has sent a video-message to young people around the world, to prepare them on their pilgrimage toward World Youth Day 2019 in Panama.
In his video-message, the pope called on young people to be like Mary who, in her acceptance of God’s will and total self-giving to his call, was “not a couch potato.”
“God is also watching over you and calling you, and when God does so, he is looking at all the love you are able to offer. Like the young woman of Nazareth, you can improve the world … The Church and society need you,” he said.
The pope has chosen three texts from the Gospel of St. Luke as the themes for the coming World Youth Days.
This year (2017), young people will reflect on the faith of Mary, who says in the Magnificat: “The Mighty One has done great things for me” (Lk 1:49).
The theme for next year (2018) – “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God” (Lk 1:30) – will lead young people to meditate on the courageous charity with which the Virgin welcomed the message of the angel.
And the 2019 World Youth Day will be inspired by the words “I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38), Mary’s hope-filled reply to the angel.
The 2017-2018 World Youth Days will be celebrated at the Vatican and local diocese on Palm Sunday, while the international gathering in Panama is scheduled for January 22-27, 2019.
The international event is usually held in August, but in part to avoid the Panamanian rainy season, the ’19 event will be held in January.
World Youth Days are celebrated at a diocesan level each year, with the international gatherings held every two to three years.
Here below is the official English text of the Pope’s video-message.
Dear young people,
With the memory vividly in our minds of our meeting together at World Youth Day 2016 in Krakow, we have set out towards the next goal that will be, God willing, Panama in 2019. These moments of encounter and conversation with you are very important to me. I want this journey to proceed in line with preparations for the next Synod of Bishops because it is dedicated to you young people.
We are accompanied on this journey by Our Mother the Virgin Mary. She encourages us with her faith, the same faith that she expressed in her song of praise. Mary said, “The Mighty One has done great things for me” (Lk 1:49). She knew how to give thanks to God who looked upon her littleness, and she recognized the great things that God was accomplishing in her life. So she set off to visit her cousin Elizabeth who was old and needed her to be close by. Mary did not stay at home because she was not a young couch potato who looks for comfort and safety where nobody can bother them. She was moved by faith because faith is at the heart of Our Mother’s entire life story.
Dear young people, God is also watching over you and calling you, and when God does so, he is looking at all the love you are able to offer. Like the young woman of Nazareth, you can improve the world and leave an imprint that makes a mark on history ‒ your history and that of many others. The Church and society need you. With your plans and with your courage, with your dreams and ideals, walls of stagnation fall and roads open up that lead us to a better, fairer, less cruel and more humane world.
As you follow this path, I encourage you to cultivate a relationship of familiarity and friendship with Our Lady. She is our Mother. Speak to her as you would to a Mother. Together with her, give thanks for the precious gift of faith that you have received from your elders, and entrust your whole life to her. She is a good Mother who listens to you and embraces you, who loves you and walks together with you. I assure you that if you do that, you will not regret it.
Have a good pilgrimage to World Youth Day 2019. May God bless you all.