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Pope wants World Youth Day 2023 to be creative event

Pope Francis wants the forthcoming 28th World Youth Day (WYD) in Lisbon 2023 to be a creative event with life and strength.
Pope Francis with two young people during the Angelus (Photo: Vatican Media)

Pope Francis wants the forthcoming 28th World Youth Day (WYD) in Lisbon 2023 to be a creative event with life and strength.

In a video message, released on March 7, the Holy Father says that WYD must be an “original meeting,” the fruit of the “poetry of creativity” and the contribution of all young people.

He encourages all those who are preparing WYD Lisbon 2023 and addresses all those who will participate, either in person or through digital media.

It is scheduled to take place in Portugal from August 1 to 6.

“May each of us leave better than when we arrived,” said the Pope.

He is looking forward to meeting Catholic youth around the world in August 2023, (a year and a few months ago).

“I am looking at Portugal, I am looking at Lisbon, I am looking at Fátima, I am looking at meeting you all,” he said.

Large delegations of Catholic youth from Asia representing every country are likely to attend the event.  

Preparing for the YWD is not going to be easy for organizers in Portugal and the various countries as many crises set in.

“And it's not easy! It is not easy because we go from crisis to crisis,” the Pope said. “We came out of a pandemic crisis, we entered an economic crisis and now we are in the crisis of war, which is one of the worst evils that can happen.”

Amid the crises, Pope Francis urged youth delegates “to prepare and help so that the August 2023 event is a youthful event, a fresh event, an event with life, an event with strength, a creative event.”

“Don't live off your income from what you did in the other meetings. You have to create the encounter. If you are not creative, if you are not poets, this meeting will not work, it will not be original, it will be a photocopy of other meetings,” the Holy Father said. “And as the young Italian blessed [Carlo Acutis] said: each one of us must be original, not a photocopy.” 

“And the meeting has to be original, with everyone's contribution. You have to create it,” he said.

Crises are to be faced collectively, and not individually. “And crises put us to the test to come out better. You don't come out of crises the same: we come out better or worse. And the challenge that arises today is to come out better! And the best of you is to be creative: you are creative, poets! Make this poetry of creativity looking at August 2023,” Pope Francis said.

“Mary got up and left in a hurry” (Luke 1:39) is a biblical quote chosen by Pope as the motto of the WYD which will take place, for the first time, in Lisbon, the capital of Portugal. 

The biblical phrase (a quotation from the Gospel of Saint Luke) begins the account of the Visitation (Mary's visit to her cousin Elizabeth), a biblical episode that follows the Annunciation (the angel's announcement to Mary that she would be the mother of the Son of God and which was the theme of the last WYD in Panama City, Panama.

WYD is a meeting of youth from all over the world with the Pope. It is also a pilgrimage, a celebration of youth, an expression of the universal Church, and a strong moment for the evangelization of the world of youth. 

It is an occasion to build a fairer and more solidary world. With a Catholic identity, it is open to everyone.

It takes place every year at the diocesan level, until now around Palm Sunday and from 2021 on Sunday of Christ the King. 

Every two, three, or four years, it takes place as an international meeting, in a city chosen by the Pope, always with his presence.   

Since the first edition, which took place in Rome in 1986, WYD has proved to be a laboratory of faith, a birthplace of vocations to marriage and the consecrated life, and an instrument of evangelization and transformation of the Church. 

Instituted by John Paul II in 1985, WYD provides all participants with an experience of the universal Church, fostering a personal encounter with Jesus.

It is a new impetus to the faith, hope, and charity of the entire community in the host country. With young people as protagonists, WYD also promotes peace, unity, and fraternity among peoples and nations around the world.

In the past, WYD took place in Cologne, Germany (2005), Sydney, Australia (2008), Madrid, Spain (2011), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2013), Krakow, Poland (2016), and Panama City, Panama (2019).


Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.”  Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.