“Arise! Uphold social justice, truth, and integrity, human rights. Protect the persecuted, the poor and the vulnerable, those who have no voice in society, immigrants.”
He continued: “Arise! Testify to the new way of looking at things that enables you to view creation with eyes brimming with wonder, that makes you see the Earth as our common home, and gives you the courage to promote an integral ecology.”
“Arise! Testify that lives of failure can be rebuilt, that persons spiritually dead can rise anew, that those in bondage can once more be free, that hearts overwhelmed by sorrow can rediscover hope.”
“Arise! Testify joyfully that Christ is alive! Spread his message of love and salvation among your contemporaries, at school and in the university, at work, in the digital world, everywhere.”
As well as international World Youth Day (WYD) gatherings typically held every three years, the Catholic Church also sponsors local youth day events for which the pope sends a message each year.
This year, WYD will be celebrated at the diocesan level on the Solemnity of Christ the King with the theme “Arise! I make you a witness of what you have seen,” inspired by Jesus’ words to St. Paul recorded in Acts 26:16.
In his message dated Sept. 14, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, the pope praised young people for their resilience throughout the coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed more than 4.7 million lives worldwide.
“All over the world, we saw great numbers of individuals, including many young people, helping to save lives, sowing seeds of hope, upholding freedom and justice, and acting as peacemakers and bridge builders,” he wrote.
“Whenever a young person falls, in some sense all humanity falls. Yet it is also true that when a young person rises, it is as if the whole world rises as well. Young people, what great potential you have in your hands! What great strength you have in your hearts!”
“Today too, God is saying to each one of you: ‘Arise!’ I fervently hope that this message may help us prepare for new times and a new page in the history of humanity. Yet we cannot begin anew without you, dear young people. If our world is to arise, it needs your strength, your enthusiasm, your passion.”