By Justin McLellan, Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis told young people to always “look to the horizon” and open their hearts to other peoples and cultures.
In a video message to the 400,000 participants registered for World Youth Day 2023, the pope encouraged young people not to “put up walls” that close them in but to “thirst for the horizon” that makes them grow.
World Youth Day is scheduled to take place in Lisbon, Portugal, Aug. 1-6. Pope Francis will attend the event and even publicly registered as a participant with the help of two Portuguese college students after praying the Angelus in St. Peter’s Square in October.
In the video released Jan. 20, the pope said that even if some young people say they are going to Lisbon “only for tourism,” each person attending World Youth Day is going “because deep down, they are craving to participate, to share, to tell their experience and receive the experience of others.”
“Open your heart to other cultures, to other young men and women” attending World Youth Day, he told them.
The motto for this year’s World Youth Day is a passage from the Luke’s Gospel: “Mary arose and went with haste.”
In his formal message for WYD 2023, published in September, Pope Francis said that the figure of Mary shows young people “the path of closeness and encounter” at a time when “our human family, already tested by the trauma of the pandemic, is racked by the tragedy of war.”