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Why WYD 2023’s theme is based on the Visitation


Domenico Ghirlandaio | CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Philip Kosloski - published on 05/31/23

Pope Francis chose "Mary arose and went with haste" (Lk 1:39) as the motto and theme of the upcoming World Youth Day in Lisbon, Portugal.

Every World Youth Day (WYD) has a theme and motto that helps guide the various events that are attended by thousands of young people from around the world.

In 2023, Pope Francis chose a Bible verse from the Gospel of Luke that highlights the action of Mary to visit her cousin Elizabeth.

The official WYD website gives an explanation behind this particular theme.

Mary arose and went with haste” (Lk 1:39) is the Bible quote chosen by Pope Francis as the motto of the World Youth Day that will be held for the first time in the capital city of Lisbon, Portugal. The biblical phrase (a quote from the Gospel of St. Luke) opens the account of the Visitation (Mary’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth), a biblical episode following the Annunciation (the angel’s announcement to Mary that she would be the mother of the Son of God, and the theme of the last WYD, in Panama).

Pope Francis chose this verse to point young people to the Virgin Mary and to imitate her heroic life, highlighting her missionary action.

Mary of Nazareth is the great figure of the Christian journey. She teaches us to say yes to God. She was the protagonist of the last edition of WYD and will be so once again in Lisbon.

In the biblical episode of the Visitation, the action of standing up presents Mary as both a woman of charity and a missionary woman. Leaving in haste represents the attitude depicted in Pope Francis’ indications for WYD Lisbon 2023: “May young people’s evangelization be active and missionary, for this is how they will recognize and witness the presence of the living Christ.”

As young people around the world prepare to travel to Portugal, they will have in mind the Visitation and how they can imitate the Virgin Mary in their lives.

BibleWorld Youth Day
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