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Pope Francis' Message for World Youth Day 2016

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
29 Sep 2015

"Do you realise how precious you are to God, who has given you everything out of love?" - Pope Francis

"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy" (Mt 5:7).

In the lead up to World Youth Day 2016 in Krakow, Pope Francis has a question for young pilgrims: "Do you realise how precious you are to God, who has given you everything out of love?"

The Holy Father's Message for the 31st World Youth Day in Krakow 2016, released this week, invites young people to reflect on the theme of mercy ahead of the upcoming WYD, which will take place 25-31 July 2015.

Pope Francis began his message with a short reflection on three themes from Jesus' words taken from the Sermon on the Mount, which were assigned as the themes for World Youth Days in 2014, 2015, as well as in 2016:

We began this journey in 2014 by meditating together on the first Beatitude: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Mt 5:3). The theme for 2015 was: "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God" (Mt 5:8). During the year ahead, let us allow ourselves to be inspired by the words: "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy" (Mt 5:7).

The focus of the message then shifted to the upcoming Jubilee Year of Mercy, which will take place from 8 December 2015 - 26 November 2016, during which time the celebration of World Youth Day in Krakow will take place. The Pope explained that all people are invited to experience a wonderful time of grace during the Holy Year, with World Youth Day being one of the high points of the Jubilee:

Pope Francis will meet youth from around the world in Krakow next year

This Holy Year of Mercy is "a time for the Church to rediscover the meaning of the mission entrusted to her by the Lord on the day of Easter: to be a sign and an instrument of the Father's mercy."

Reflecting on the Holy Year's theme "Merciful like the Father", the Holy Father challenged  each one of us to rediscover the meaning of mission in our lives as Christians, as well as the freedom we receive through the Sacrament of reconciliation:

Do not be afraid! God is waiting for you! God is a Father and he is always waiting for us! It is so wonderful to feel the merciful embrace of the Father in the sacrament of Reconciliation, to discover that the confessional is a place of mercy, and to allow ourselves to be touched by the merciful love of the Lord who always forgives us!

Pope Francis continued his message by pointing young people towards specific actions that they can take to make the most of the Holy Year of Mercy in preparation for World Youth Day. These include looking towards the example of key Saints, including Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, Saint Faustina and Saint John Paul II, as well as undertaking the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, and making a visit the Divine Mercy Shrine in Krakow during World Youth Day:

The Holy Father's Message for the 31st World Youth Day in Krakow 2016, released this week, invites young people to reflect on the theme of mercy ahead of the upcoming WYD, which will take place 25-31 July 2015

I would suggest that for the first seven months of 2016 you choose a corporal and a spiritual work of mercy to practice each month. Find inspiration in the prayer of Saint Faustina, a humble apostle of Divine Mercy in our times...

Dear young people, at the Shrine in Krakow dedicated to the merciful Jesus, where he is depicted in the image venerated by the people of God, Jesus is waiting for you. He has confidence in you and is counting on you! He has so many things to say to each of you.

The Pope concluded the message with words of hope, encouraging young people to become "apostles of mercy", and to pray for hope in a world that has been wounded by selfishness, hatred and despair:

Carry with you the flame of Christ's merciful love - as Saint John Paul II said - in every sphere of your daily life and to the very ends of the earth. In this mission, I am with you with my encouragement and prayers.

The Pope's full address is available on Xt3: http://www.xt3.com/wyd2016/library/view.php?id=19695&categoryId=56