Pope urges young people to cherish ‘living memory’ of WYD Lisbon

By Devin Watkins, 22 September 2023
Diocese of Parramatta pilgrims pose for a photo during their World Youth Day pilgrimage in Lisbon, Portugal. Image: Diocese of Parramatta


Pope Francis sends a video message to young people who took part in World Youth Day 2023 in Lisbon, Portugal, and invites them to pass on their experience as Christian missionaries.

In a video message recorded by Cardinal-elect Américo Manuel Alves Aguiar, the auxiliary bishop of Lisbon, Pope Francis addressed young people who participated in World Youth Day, on 1-6 August 2023.

The Pope invited the WYD participants to be “missionaries, sowers, and witnesses” of what they experienced in Lisbon.

Cardinal-elect Aguiar, the president of the Lisbon 2023 WYD Foundation, met with the Pope on Friday 9 September in an audience at the Apostolic Palace and recorded the video message, which was released on Saturday 10 September.

Living memory

Pope Francis began his video message by asking young people if their experiences in Lisbon “still remain” with them.

“Everyone says yes,” smiles the Pope. “I am happy about that. It is a memory that is not to be packed away or left alone in photo albums. It should be a living memory, and you have to keep it alive. And how do you keep something alive? By passing it on, by giving it to others. A family is kept alive through the children who carry on the family, and the parents who then become grandparents. But it remains alive.”

Telling the story of WYD

The Pope urged young people to keep alive the memory of what they experienced during the World Youth Day.

“Don’t anesthetize that memory,” he said. “Don’t put it an album dedicated to old memories.”

He said WYD participants should keep the memory alive by telling other people about it.

“Tell others about it at university, at school, at work,” he said. “Tell them about what you experienced, what you lived, and that crowd of more than a million and a half who were there, and above all about what you felt.”

Missionaries and witnesses

The Pope concluded his brief video message with a request.

“Be missionaries, sowers, and witnesses of what you have lived,” he said. “And thank you for the witness which you bore.”

Now, he said, “it is your turn to be witnesses. May God bless you; may Our Lady watch over you. And do not forget to pray for me.”

With thanks to Vatican News and Devin Watkins, where this article originally appeared.


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