To end World Youth Day 2023, Pope Francis told 1.5 million weary-eyed and sleep-deprived young people in Lisbon not to let their “great dreams” of changing the world be “stopped by fear”. Source: CNS.
In his homily for the closing Mass of World Youth Day, the Pope asked for “a bit of silence” from the pilgrims who, after staying overnight in Lisbon’s Tejo Park following the previous night’s vigil, at 6am were already dancing to techno music mixed by a DJ priest before the Pope’s arrival.
“Let’s all repeat this phrase in our hearts: ‘Don’t be afraid,’” he told the hushed crowd. “Jesus knows the hearts of each one of you, the successes and the failures, he knows your hearts,” Pope Francis said. “And today he tells you, here in Lisbon for this World Youth Day: ‘Don’t be afraid’.”
At the front of the crowd, which extended across both banks of Lisbon’s Trancão River, 30 cardinals, 700 bishops and 10,000 priests concelebrated the Mass with Pope Francis. Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa was seated in the front row.
Cardinal Manuel do Nascimento Clemente of Lisbon thanked the Pope for making World Youth Day an opportunity for young people to come together and build a better tomorrow “after a pandemic that has confined them and otherwise distanced them from each other and from the best (version) of themselves”.
Using the Portuguese word for thank you – “obrigado” – the Pope thanked the organisers of World Youth Day, the volunteers who made it possible and the city of Lisbon, which he prayed would “remain in the memory of these young people as a house of fraternity and a city of dreams.”
The crowd dispersed after Mass, streaming through the streets of Lisbon, filling closed-down highways while waving the flags of the world.
Don’t be afraid to change the world, pope tells youths at WYD closing Mass (By Justin McLellan, CNS via USCCB)
Pope talks abortion, euthanasia at lunch with WYD pilgrims (OSV News)