World Youth Day may be coming to the Middle East

Artur Widak | NurPhoto | AFP

Discussions among Catholic bishops center around a stand-alone World Youth Day that would cater to the youth of the region.

The Middle East may soon hold its own regionally based World Youth Day, as members of the Conference of Latin Bishops of the Arab Regions (CELRA) suggested the event could be beneficial to young Catholics from “Syria to Somalia.”

Courtney Mares of Catholic News Agency reports that the call for the the Middle East to hold its own youth gathering came after the members of CELRA returned from a February meeting with Pope Francis in Rome. The Roman meeting reportedly discussed at length the possibility of a “World Day of Youth of the Arab Regions,” with bishops representing Catholics from Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Israel, Cyprus, Somalia, and countries of the Arabian Peninsula offering their thoughts on the matter.

CNA lists some of the topics that were discussed around the proposal:

Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri gave a talk on “Synodality in the praxis of the Church,” encouraging the bishops to work collaboratively, and Cardinal Michael Czerny, undersecretary of the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, led a discussion on the post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation “Querida Amazonia.”

The idea for a uniquely Middle Eastern version of the popular Catholic youth pilgrimage was born from the “Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together,” which Pope Francis signed alongside leaders of the Islamic faith in 2019. The missive promotes peace among faiths in a region of the world that has been historically divided along religious lines.

While there has been no decision made on whether or not this new “World Day of Youth of the Arab Regions” will take place, CELRA has planned another meeting to be held in Lebanon in February of 2021. There they will further discuss the possibility of instituting the new youth event, as well as sharing the fruits of their 2020 labors.


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