By Charles Igwe
As the curtains drew on the Lisbon World Youth Day, Pope Francis graced the occasion with profound expressions of gratitude, accompanied by moments of reflection. Following the concluding Mass, Pope Francis offered the traditional Sunday Angelus, delivering a touching address that centered on the theme of “thank you” (or “obrigado” in Portuguese). These words held a deep emotional significance, as he sought to associate cherished memories with people and experiences.
During his address, Pope Francis illuminated the rich meaning of “obrigado,” which not only signifies gratitude for received blessings but also compels a response to goodness. He urged all participants to acknowledge the grace they had received and carry it back into their lives, sharing their gratitude with others and bearing witness to God’s work in their hearts.
Before bidding farewell, Pope Francis extended heartfelt thanks:
- To Cardinal Clemente and the Church of the Portuguese people.
- To the President for his accompaniment throughout the event.
- To national and local institutions for their unwavering support.
- To the clergy, consecrated individuals, and laypeople.
- To Lisbon, which will be remembered as the “House of Fraternity” and “City of Dreams.”
- To Cardinal Farrell and the event’s organizers, along with the volunteers whose service was acknowledged with applause.
- To the event’s Patron Saints, including John Paul II, who inaugurated World Youth Days.
Also, Pope Francis addressed the young participants directly, encouraging them to nurture the goodness sown in their hearts during the event. He urged them to cherish the memories of these days, which could provide solace and inspiration during moments of challenge and doubt. Pope Francis extended his greetings to those who couldn’t attend physically but participated in associated initiatives worldwide.
Expressing his deep concern for areas affected by conflicts and wars, Pope Francis implored all to pray for peace, emphasizing the need for a peaceful world built by young people who pray, live, and work for harmony. He invoked Mary, Queen of Peace, to guide this aspiration.
Pope Francis underscored the importance of acknowledging one’s roots and the faith passed down by grandparents, which serve as an essential foundation. He exhorted the young participants to be ambassadors of peace, uniting nations and histories.
In a climactic moment, Pope Francis unveiled the future plans for World Youth Day. He announced the Jubilee of Young People in Rome in 2025, inviting young people worldwide to celebrate. He then revealed that the next World Youth Day, in 2027, would be hosted in Seoul, South Korea, a testament to the Church’s universal nature and the unity that the young attendees embody.
In closing, Pope Francis extended profound gratitude to Lord Jesus and Mary, acknowledging their continuous presence in the lives of the faithful. With this, he led the assembly in the recitation of the Angelus prayer.