Saturday, August 12, 2023

Pope Francis marks UN International Youth Day

File photo of Pope Francis with young people in LisbonFile photo of Pope Francis with young people in Lisbon  (Vatican Media)

Pope Francis urges young people to be ‘champions of fraternity’

On the UN International Youth Day, Pope Francis urges young people to dream big and promote a culture of care by becoming “champions of fraternity”.

By Devin Watkins

As the United Nations International Youth Day was marked on Saturday, 12 August, Pope Francis posted an encouragement to young people on his X social media platform (formerly known as Twitter).

He invited youth to dream big, promote a culture of care, and be champions of fraternity.

The Pope also offered young people a key for living a fuller life: allowing themselves to be guided by God and accepting the advice of good counsellors.

“Dear young people, never lose your courage to dream big and to live life completely! Adopt the culture of care and spread it. Become champions of fraternity. Face life’s challenges by letting yourselves be guided by God and by good counsellors. #YouthDay”

The Pope’s tweet recalled his speech to young people at the Sacred Heart School in Awali, during his Apostolic Journey to Bahrain (3-6 November 2022).

Just last week, Pope Francis led some 1.5 million people in the Church’s celebration of the 37th World Youth Day, held in Lisbon, Portugal, on 1-6 August.

Green skills and young people

The 2023 edition of UN International Youth Day boasts the theme “Green Skills for Youth: Towards a Sustainable World”.

According to the UN website, the theme highlights the need for economies to embrace a “green transition” and to shift towards “an environmentally-sustainable and climate-friendly world”.

That transition can best take place, says the UN, when everyone seeks to make life and work decisions that do not negatively impact the environment.

“While green skills are relevant for people of all ages,” reads a statement on the UN website, “they have heightened importance for younger people, who can contribute to the green transition for a longer period of time.”

Positive impact and big dreams

The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, released a message ahead of International Youth Day.

He encouraged young people to continue their call for “bold and accelerated action” on the challenges facing the world today.

Mr. Guterres noted that young people often seek to stand in solidarity with the most vulnerable, as they work toward solutions that ensure “social, economic, and climate justice, and peace and prosperity for all.”

The UN Secretary-General also encouraged older generations to ensure young people’s access to the skills they will need to make a positive impact on their economies and the world around them.

As Pope Francis urged young people in his X post: “Never lose your courage to dream big and to live life completely!”

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