Pope encourages youth to be ‘joyful protagonists’ in the Church
By Christopher Wells
Each year on the Solemnity of Christ the King of the Universe – the last Sunday of the liturgical year – World Youth Day is celebrated in particular churches around the globe, according to the new dispensation of Pope Francis.
At the Angelus on Sunday, Pope Francis recalled the celebration, describing young people as “the present and future of the world,” and inviting them to be “joyful protagonists in the life of the Church.”
Remembering the Holodomor
Pope Francis also noted the commemoration of the Holodomor in Ukraine, the genocide by starvation of millions of Ukrainians under the Soviet Union in the 1930s. “That lacerating wound, instead of healing, is made even more painful by the atrocities of the war that continues to make that dear people suffer,” the Pope said, in reference to the ongoing invasion of Ukraine by Russia.
The Pope called for continued, “untiring” prayers for “all peoples torn apart by conflict,” saying that “prayer is the force for peace that shatters the spiral of hatred, breaks the cycle of vengeance, and offers unexpected paths of reconciliation.”
Thanking God for the truce
Turning his gaze toward the Holy Land, Pope Francis then thanked God for the pause in fighting between Israel and Palestine, and for the release of some of the hostages and prisoners held by the warring parties.
He appealed for prayers that all might be freed as soon as possible, urging us to think of their families. The Pope also asked for prayers that more humanitarian aid might find its way to Gaza, while insisting on the need for dialogue. “Those who do not want dialogue,” he said, do not want peace!”
Looking ahead to COP28
Finally, Pope Francis looked ahead to the upcoming COP28 conference on the global response to climate change, beginning next week in Dubai. “In addition to war, our world is threatened by another great danger, climate change, which endangers life on earth, especially future generations,” the Pope warned. This, he said, “is contrary to the plan of God, who created everything for life.”
Pope Francis will become the first Pope to attend a COP gathering when he arrives in the United Arab Emirates on Friday, 1 December. He expressed his gratitude to “all those who will accompany this trip with their prayers,” while also thanking them for “their commitment to take the protection of our common home to heart.”
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