While we’re still four years away from World Youth Day 2027, the hosts at the Archdiocese of Seoul are already stoking the fires of faith within young people. The archdiocese held an event to promote WYD on November 25, where they heralded the anticipation of Seoul as host city for the 18th iteration of the largest youth gathering in the world, initiated by Pope St. John Paul II in 1985.
The event featured a wide array of activities meant to resonate with young Catholics, including a Mass presided over by Archbishop Peter Soon-taick Chung. The archbishop’s homily promoted the importance of the participation from the younger generations in Church activities, as well as the significance of spiritual journeys:
“If we view World Youth Day simply as a large-scale event or a mission that needs to be accomplished, we overlook its true essence. Instead, it is a moment for us to unite our hearts, thoughts, and strength, preparing to extend invitations to our fellow young Catholics worldwide. Together, we come together to celebrate the feast of faith, transcending borders and races.”
Archbishop Chung reiterated the theme of WYD 2027, “Rejoice in Hope,“ which was announced by Pope Francis. He called the theme “a message of encouragement and hope for young people,” before noting that young Catholics often face challenges in today’s secular world.
“Pope Francis says that Christian hope is the certain knowledge of God’s presence among us, and it is this hope that gives us the strength to move forward, even when we face difficulties.”
The event went on to feature an exhibition on the history of WYD that educated attendees on the significance of the Catholic gathering. This portion of the event featured an address by Fr. Peter Joo-yul Yang, head of the WYD Seoul 2027 preparatory committee, who shared his excitement and plans for WYD 2027. Also present were young people who had attended WYD 2023 in Lisbon, who shared their experiences.
After the talks, in true WYD fashion, the event featured an outdoor setup where the faithful could seek absolution through Confession. Under the open sky, the confessions were heard by priests through small wooden walls with attached kneelers, a feature of many WYD celebrations. A press release described the outdoor confessions as a “profound moment of communion with one’s faith, adding a distinctive touch to the celebratory atmosphere.”
Once the sun had gone down, the event concluded with a candlelight procession and communal praying of the Holy Rosary. Images of the procession show a visually captivating scene in which the surroundings are lit by a gentle glow. In this moment, the Archdiocese of Seoul fully took up the mantle as host of the remarkable WYD celebration, as well as a beacon of anticipation for the global youth event in 2027.