Rome (Italy). On 26 September 2023, the themes chosen by Pope Francis for the WYDs that will be celebrated in the local Churches in 2023 and 2024, on the occasion of the solemnity of Christ the King, which mark the path of preparation for the Jubilee of young people in the framework of the great Jubilee of 2025 “Pilgrims of hope”:
XXXVIII World Youth Day 2023: “Rejoicing in hope” (cf. Rom 12:12) – Sunday 26 November 2023
XXXIX World Youth Day 2024: “Those who hope in the Lord will run and not be weary” (cf. Is 40:31).
“The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men and women of today, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ”, as the 1965 Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes (n. 1) emphasised. Now as then, in today’s difficult times, the Church wishes to rekindle hope in the world. To do this, she relies especially on young people, who are the leading figures of history and “missionaries of joy”.
In the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Christus Vivit, Pope Francis wrote that Christ is “our hope, and in a wonderful way he brings youth to our world” (n. 1). With the themes of the two forthcoming World Youth Days, His Holiness now invites young people to deepen their understanding of Christian HOPE and to witness joyfully that Christ is alive.
In a Video Message recorded by Cardinal Américo Manuel Alves Aguiar, Auxiliary Bishop of Lisbon and President of the WYD Lisbon 2023 Foundation, just over a month before WYD in Portugal, the Pope had already invited young people to be witnesses:
“You still have the memory of the Day, right? It’s a keepsake that isn’t meant to be wrapped up or pasted in photo albums. It is a living memory and you must keep it alive. And how do you keep something alive? By transmitting it, by giving it to others. A family is kept alive through the children who carry on the family, and the parents who then become grandparents. But always alive.
Keep this memory alive, which you received during the Day. Don’t ‘anesthetize’ it, don’t put it in the album of past memories. And tell it, tell it at university, at school, at work.
Tell us what you experienced, what you experience, that crowd of more than one and a half million who were there, and above all what you felt. This is what I ask of you now: be missionaries, be propagators, be witnesses of what you have experienced. And thank you, thank you for the testimony you have given.
And now it is your turn: be witnesses. May God bless you; may the Virgin keep you. And don’t forget to pray for me.”
News and other information regarding the World Youth Days can be found on the website of the Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life: www.laityfamilylife.va