With less than three months to go before this year’s World Youth Day in Portugal, Pope Francis urged young people to prepare with “enthusiasm” and “put hope” in the preparations.
“Have hope… because one grows a lot at an event like WYD,” said the pontiff in a video message released on Thursday, May 4.
“I can imagine the things you must have on your mind, how you’re going to make it happen, request your work or study permit, get what you need for your trip,” he said.
The pontiff urged young people to “look toward the horizon” by using their excitement and hope as a stepping stone.
He said taking part in the World Youth Day is “a beautiful thing” even as the participants might not have realized it yet.
“I’ll see you in Lisbon,” said the pope in the message posted on the Vatican’s YouTube page three months before the August 1-6 international gathering.
The World Youth Day was established by Pope John Paul II in 1985. The weeklong gathering usually attracts hundreds of thousands of young people.
Pope Francis said the Portuguese capital would host the global Catholic gathering of young people at the closing Mass of the last international World Youth Day in Panama City in January 2019.
The event is typically held on a different continent every three years, with the presence of the pope.
In 2020, the Vatican announced that World Youth Day would be postponed by one year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lisbon, a city of 505,000 people, is about 75 miles from Fatima, one of the most visited Marian pilgrimage sites in the world.
A report on “European Young Adults and Religion,” published in 2018, found that Portugal has one of the highest levels of weekly Mass attendance among young people in Europe. – with a report from CNA