As a way of helping us on this journey by reinforcing the importance of WYD as a significant experience within a pastoral process, the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life published a document on 18 May entitled
The document emphasises that it is a “celebration of faith” for young people together with the entire local Church community. These Guidelines are part of the follow-up to the Youth Synod held in 2018 and of the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Christus Vivit.
The document also reminds us of the change of date of the annual local event, as of 2021. It has been held on Palm Sunday for the past thirty-five years. This year, after considering the viewpoints and options presented by the Dicastery, Pope Francis decided to designate the feast of Christ the King as the new date for the diocesan or local WYD, a popular date in several parts of the world.
The Pope wants this to be a day on which the universal Church will place young people at the centre of its pastoral attention. It is an opportunity to pray for them, involve them as protagonists in activities, conduct media campaigns, etc. This celebration should be part of a broader pastoral journey of which WYD is only one stage.
Included in the document are several pastoral ideas that represent the many possibilities of the event. The key word is “pastoral creativity/fantasy”. It does not suggest that any single model is to be followed to the letter, but rather it provides suggestions that each church group can adapt and reshape, totally or in part, according to their own experience and pastoral needs.
We represented the TA at a virtual meeting convened on 8 June by the Dicastery Youth Office. The aim of the gathering was to listen to reactions, opinions, questions and comments on the document. The head of the Youth Office, Rev. João Chagas, invited the Ecclesial Associations and Movements to support the celebration of WYD in the particular churches.
The publication of these Pastoral Guidelines is a good opportunity for us to reflect and dream about the path that the Association wants to take with young people towards participation in WYD Lisbon 2023.
Anabela Rodrigues and Emi Paniagua.