Francis signs up for World Youth Day

Pope Francis registers for WYD Panama 2019 on Sunday (Vatican News)

With the help of a tablet and two young people, Pope Francis has signed up for World Youth Day 2019 in Panama, announcing that registration for the international event has opened. Source: CNA.

“I too, now, with two young people, sign up by means of the internet,” the Pope said, clicking “register” on a tablet on Sunday, after praying the Angelus. “There, I have enrolled as a pilgrim to World Youth Day,” he announced.

"We have to prepare ourselves. I invite all the young people of the world to live with faith and enthusiasm this event of grace and fraternity, both [those] going to Panama and [those] participating in their communities."

Pope Francis chose Panama to be the host of the next World Youth Day, an international gathering of youth which was started in 1985 by Pope St John Paul II. Ordinarily held in the host nation's summer months, in 2019 it will take place January 22-27, to avoid Panama’s rainy season.

Before the Angelus, Pope Francis spoke about the day's Gospel, which tells of Jesus’ healing of a leper, noting that “in this context the World Day of the Sick is well placed”.

In the Old Testament, having leprosy made you unclean, and you would be separated from the community, Francis explained. Therefore, the leper in the Gospel of Mark would have felt unclean not only before other people, but also before God.

But Jesus is the true physician, and heals both our bodies and our souls, he said. Christ's compassion and mercy move him to reach out to the man suffering from leprosy, to touch him and to say: “I will it, be cleansed!” the Pope said.

Jesus’ act of touching the leper, which was forbidden by Mosaic law, makes the leper clean, he said. “In this healing we admire, in addition to compassion and mercy, also the audacity of Jesus, who is not concerned with contagion nor the rules, but is moved only by the will to free that man from the curse that oppresses him.”

FULL STORY

Pope Francis 'signs up' for World Youth Day in Panama (CNA)

Pope Francis registers as a World Youth Day pilgrim (Zenit)

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