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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Pope chooses focus on Mary for upcoming World Youth Day celebrations

Pope Francis has chosen a focus on Mary for the next World Youth Day celebrations, which will be held in dioceses in 2017 and 2018 and with an international gathering in Panama in 2019.

The pope has highlighted the way the Mother of Jesus was always open to the Lord’s will and has described her “as a role model to be imitated,” said the Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life in a press release on 22nd November.

The themes “are intended to give a clear Marian tone to the spiritual journey” of the next three World Youth Days as well as to “give a picture of young people on a journey between the past (2017), present (2018) and future (2019), inspired by the three theological virtues of faith, charity and hope.”

World Youth Day is celebrated annually on a local level, and every two or three years with an international gathering with the pope. At the end of the World Youth Day celebration in July in Krakow, Poland, Pope Francis announced the next international gathering would be held in Panama in 2019.

The annual Rome diocesan celebration with the pope is held on Palm Sunday each year; the date of the celebration in other dioceses varies.

Picture: Pope Francis burns incense in front of a statue of Mary while celebrating Mass in Rome’s Prima Porta cemetery on 2nd November. He has chosen a focus on Mary for the next World Youth Day celebrations, which will be held in dioceses in 2017 and 2018 and as an international gathering in Panama in 2019. (CNS photo/Paul Haring).