The next international World Youth Day is planned for Seoul, South Korea, in 2027. Young adults are also invited to attend a Jubilee of Young People in Rome during the 2025 Jubilee Year.
In his message, Pope Francis said we are living at a time when for many people, the young included, “hope seems absent.”
“Sadly, many of your contemporaries who experience wars, violent conflict, bullying, and other kinds of hardship are gripped by despair, fear, and depression,” he said. “They feel as if they are in a dark prison, where the light of the sun cannot enter.”
He pointed to the high suicide rate among teens and young adults in some countries as a dramatic sign of the level of depression in the world.
“In such situations, how can we experience the joy and hope of which St. Paul speaks?” Francis said. “There is a risk that instead we will fall prey to despair, thinking that it is useless to do good, since it would not be appreciated or acknowledged by anyone. We may say to ourselves, with Job: ‘Where then is my hope? Who will see my hope?’ (Job 17:15).”
Pope Francis recalled that joy “is not a product of our human efforts, plans, or skills, but of the energy born of an encounter with Christ. Christian joy comes from God himself, from our knowledge of his love for us.”
He also pointed to something Pope Benedict XVI said to the Roman Curia in 2011, reflecting on his experience at World Youth Day in Madrid.
Benedict said: “Where does [joy] come from? How is it to be explained? Certainly, there are many factors at work here. But ... the crucial one is this certainty based on faith: I am wanted. I have a task in history. I am accepted, I am loved.”
After we have kindled the flame of hope in us, it has to be nourished, Pope Francis said.
“There can be times,” he said, “when it risks being extinguished by the worries, fears and pressures of daily life. A flame needs oxygen to keep burning, in order to grow into a great bonfire of hope.”