By Christopher Wells
At the conclusion of the Holy Mass for the Solemnity of Christ the King, Pope Francis announced that he has decided to transfer the diocesan celebration of World Youth Day (WYD) from Palm Sunday to Christ the King Sunday.
Christ at the centre
In announcing the change, the Holy Father said, “The centre of the celebration remains the Mystery of Jesus Christ the Redeemer of Man, as Saint John Paul II, the initiator and patron of WYD, always emphasized.”
Dioceses celebrate World Youth Day in the years between the major, intercontinental edition of the event, which takes place every 2-3 years in a location chosen by the Pope. The most recent international WYD was held in Panama City in 2019, with the next, in Lisbon, scheduled to take place in 2022. WYD Lisbon, however, has been moved back to 2023 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Cry out that Christ reigns
The announcement of the changed date came ahead of the ceremony of the passage of the WYD Cross and the icon of Our Lady Salus Populi Romani, the symbols of the World Youth Days. On Sunday, a delegation of young people from Panama handed off the Cross and icon to their counterparts from Lisbon, in what Pope Francis described as “a significant ceremony.”
In his remarks prior to the ceremonial passage of Cross and icon, Pope Francis said, “Dear young people, cry out with your life that Christ lives and reigns,” while recalling Christ’s words from the Gospel: “If you keep silent, the very stones will cry out!”