It’s time to break free from fear, fake online personas and looking at the world through a digital screen display, Pope Francis told young people.
“Do not allow the spark of youth to be extinguished in the darkness of a closed room in which the only window to the outside world is a computer and smartphone,” the pope told youths in his annual message for local celebrations of World Youth Day.
“Open wide the doors of your life! May your time and space be filled with meaningful relationships, real people with whom to share your authentic and concrete experiences of daily life,” he said in the message, published on 22nd February at the Vatican.
Many young people today are afraid – afraid of never being accepted, of finding a good job and even of their real selves, the pope said in his message.
The only way forward is to face one’s fears head on, identify them clearly and come to terms with them, he said, “so as not to find yourself wasting time and energy by being gripped by empty and faceless ghosts.”
People have to act, which requires faith in God and his grace, otherwise fear and doubt will make people “become inward-looking and closed off to defend ourselves from everything and everyone, and we will remain paralysed,” he said.
In preparation for the next international celebration of World Youth Day – which will be held in Panama from 22nd to 27th January 2019 – many dioceses will have their own celebrations on Palm Sunday on 25th March.
Picture: Pilgrims cheer after the Way of the Cross during World Youth Day in 2016 at Blonia Park in Krakow, Poland. (CNS photo/Paul Haring).