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Pope Francis answers questions from kids ahead of WYD 2023

Pope Francis at world youth day

Yandry_kw | Shutterstock

J-P Mauro - published on 08/01/23

"St. John Paul II used to say that if you live with young people you become young yourself. The Church needs young people so it doesn’t grow old.”

Ahead of World Youth Day 2023, Pope Francis made a brief video in which he answered questions from young Catholics regarding the week-long celebration of young people in the Church.

The inquiries were thoughtful and the answers concise in the brief video that was released on The Pope Video YouTube channel.

The first question asked of the Pontiff was posed by a teen girl standing before a scenic mountain range with the sea expanding behind her. Standing with two of her friends, all donned in their WYD 2023 attire, she asked if the Church was meant more for old people, noting that when she goes to her local church the pews are generally filled with an older crowd.

Pope Francis responded that of course it is not, explaining that the Church would be in dire straits if it was only for old people:

“The Church is not an old people’s club any more than it is a youth club. If it becomes something for old people, it will die. St. John Paul II used to say that if you live with young people you become young yourself. The Church needs young people so it doesn’t grow old.”

Changing locations to a second group of kids seated beside a river, Pope Francis was next asked why the theme of “Mary arose and went with haste” was selected for World Youth Day 2023. To this, Pope Francis explained that it is his wish that the selflessness and quick action taken by Mary after she conceived Jesus would be imitated by the faithful. The Pope said:

“Because as soon as Mary knew she was going to be the mother of God, she didn’t stay there taking a selfie or showing off. The first thing she did was to set out on a journey, in haste, to serve, to help. You too have to learn from her to set out on a journey to help others.”

One final group of kids asked the Pope about what his hopes were for this iteration of World Youth Day. Pope Francis noted that he would like to ignite the spark of joyful zeal for the faith in the younger generation. He explained that it is of paramount importance that young people approach their faith with joy and enthusiasm:

“In Lisbon, I would like to see a seed for the world’s future. A world where love is at the center, where we can sense that we are sisters and brothers. We are at war; we need something else. A world that is not afraid of witnessing the Gospel. A joyful world – because if we Christians have no joy, we are not credible, no one will believe us.”

This iteration of World Youth Day – a festive event that is held every two to three years, but was delayed due to the pandemic – will take place in Lisbon, Portugal, from August 1-6.

Pope Francis will arrive on August 2 and will meet many young people throughout the week, even hearing confessions on Thursday. Of particular note will be his Saturday visit to the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, where he will pray the Holy Rosary alongside young people who are ill.

See Pope Francis’ entire itinerary for WYD 2023 at Vatican News.

CatholicismPope FrancisWorld Youth Day
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