Christ the King
National Youth Sunday becomes World Youth Day!
The role and presence of young people in the Catholic Church has always been of the utmost importance, and the Catholic Church in England and Wales has a rich history of recognising this every year by celebrating National Youth Sunday.
Now, though, what once was a national event held on a local level, will become a global day of celebration.
World Youth Day was previously a separate day of celebration, set up by Pope Saint John Paul II, who said that “All young people must feel that they are cared for by the Church. Therefore, may the entire Church on a worldwide level be more and more committed to young people.” The first ever World Youth Day was held on Palm Sunday in 1984 and has since been celebrated locally on this day in all corners of the world.
In November 2020, Pope Francis called for a relaunch of World Youth Day and invites us all to celebrate it on the Solemnity of Christ the King, on Sunday, 21st November 2021, the same day as what would have been National Youth Sunday. It will be a day to recognise and celebrate young people and their invaluable contribution to the life of the local, national and universal church.
A collection of resources to help celebrate World Youth Day are available at worldyouthsunday.com
We must also remember that this is not just a few days of celebration for us to forget soon after. As Pope Francis reminds us, “World Youth Days are not ‘firework displays’, flashes of enthusiasm that are an end in themselves; they are the stages of a long journey.”
We are blessed in this Diocese to have so many young people willing to walk on this journey with the Lord.
And we are similarly blessed that our recent Diocesan synod affirmed the place of young people in the life of local Church and asked that they be a priority for us as a Diocese.