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Press Release from the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life on the Message of the Holy Father Francis for the 35th World Youth Day 2020 (Palm Sunday, 5 April 2020), 05.03.2020

The Holy Father’s Message to young people for the 35th World Youth Day 2020, to be celebrated at diocesan level throughout the world, takes as its theme: “Young man, I say to you, arise!”(cf. Lk 7: 14). The text, signed by the Holy Father on the memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lourdes, is the first of a cycle of three messages dedicated to young people on their way between WYD Panama 2019 and WYD Lisbon 2022.

The key word that links the three stages of this itinerary of the Church together with the young people is the verb “arise”, present in the three themes chosen by the Holy Father for the successive WYDs.

In his address, Pope Francis reminds young people that this verb “also takes on the meaning of rising, awakening to life”, and proposes the reading of the passage from the Gospel about the resurrection of the young man from Nain as a personal invitation to take the decisive step to follow Christ: “The Gospel does not tells us the name of the young man whom Jesus restored to life in Nain. This invites each reader to identify with him. To you, to me, to each one of us, Jesus says: ‘Arise!’. We are very aware that, as Christians, we constantly fall and have to get up again. People who are not on a journey never fall; then again neither do they move forward. That is why we need to accept the help that Jesus gives us and put our faith in God. The first step is to let ourselves get up”, says the Holy Father.

Pope Francis also recalls that the invitation to arise appears several times in the post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation “Christus vivit”. In this way he underlines the link between the synodal process dedicated to young people and the WYD journey, and invites young people themselves and those involved in youth ministry to strengthen their commitment to the implementation of this exhortation, together with the Synod Final Document, in their daily pastoral work and in preparation for the next WYD, to be celebrated worldwide.

The next international WYD will take place in Lisbon in 2022, and its theme will be “Mary arose and went with haste” (Lk 1:39).