World Youth Day Proposal
A successful World Youth’s Day in Lisbon Portugal has concluded with a huge show of support. Preparations are under way for the 2025 Jubilee to be celebrated in Rome, and the next World Youth Day is set for Seoul, South Korea in 2027.
Vendalite is working to have the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (PWPN) include Gabriel, an APP developed to permit a votive candle to be lit at a site of choice from anywhere in the world using a mobile device, as a part of the set of prayer proposals through “Click to Pray” the Pope’s prayer app, and “Step to Pray” in collaboration with the 2025 Jubilee celebrations. Under this protocol the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network includes the availability of Gabriel for the Korean 2027 “Click to Pray eRosary”, a free digital application that helps and teaches how to pray the rosary for peace through audios and presentation of Gospel for each day.
In this way, it is possible to expand the Korean 2027 prayer community, since the Gabriel APP, available in multiple languages can be used by the youth present at the meeting, but also by those who cannot be physically present and in attendance at Regional events. This might include such events as the Annual FOCUS Conference (Fellowship of College University Students) in the United States.
In Lisbon the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network gave priority to organizing local Eucharistic Youth Movement (EYM) events in the different countries. Experiencing a WYD event can of course be a significant human and spiritual experience in one’s life, but organizing local events between different national teams at regional level can also provide a meaningful and new experience for young people. It is also be beneficial for strengthening cohesion and solidarity between local and regional EYM communities.
A communication team was committed to coordinating the project with the EYM camps that were to be present and supporting the project, through several social network links. This culminated in several EYM delegations present in Lisbon: 480 EYM members from 15 countries, which is symbolic considering that EYM is present in 59 countries all over the world with 1.7 million children and young people. Asian and African countries, as well as a good number of Latin American countries, were given priority to organizing local events. A specific day was determined to organize an EYM Festival.
In the face of a global economic crisis and ecological challenges, it was necessary to change a way of life and rethink the organization of this type of event. For practical socioeconomic and ecological reasons, it was decided to give priority to organizing local events rather than sending a large number of young people to WYD Lisbon 2023.
The financial cost of organizing this trip for most young people was too high, so it was decided to support the organization of local EYM events. In this way more young people can participate and in turn reduce the environmental footprint by avoiding massive displacements of young people to one place.
At EYM International, there is an awareness that mass events, such as WYD, are no longer suited to our times. We need to rethink this model, for example by proposing a central event, but replicated on a continental or regional scale. Modern means of communication allow us to implement this new approach and Gabriel will support these needs.
Youth are the Future
A current empirical study published by University of Notre Dame in the Catholic Weekly involving Catholics aged below 40 who attend Mass every week highlights the strength of faith in younger adults. The survey questioned 700 Australian Catholics who reported attending Mass weekly. Respondents were asked what keeps them returning to church every week and were given 9 possible answers, ranking each one with a score of 1-100. This allowed the researchers to divide the answers into categories based on their importance.
Findings paint the picture of a devout group of young Catholics whose identities are steeped in faith. They attend Mass of their own volition, with the desire to grow in their relationship with Christ through the sacraments.
This group was found to be very active in their parishes, with nearly two-thirds (66%) stating that they work at least one formal role in the parish. The group did not seem to show any outward indication that they were especially religious. Many of them keep their faiths to themselves:
“They’re not what we might call ‘liturgy nuts’ or strange fringe-dwellers. These are very mainstream, ordinary Catholics of the kind everyone would have recognized 50 years ago as ‘practicing Catholics.’ We don’t tend to notice them very much because they are so very ordinary.”
The survey found:
⦁ That an overwhelming majority (82%) said they believe in God with no doubts
⦁ This same portion said they pray at least once per day.
⦁ A further 6 in 10 respondents (60%) said that the Church is the most important aspect of their lives.
⦁ More than half of respondents (54%) said they seek absolution at least once per month.
⦁ Overall they placed a high importance on their children marrying within the faith.
⦁ 60% said they found the liturgy “comforting”
⦁ (54%) said they attend Mass because “the Church asks them to attend.”
⦁ Less than half (44%) said they enjoy “being with the other people at Mass,”
⦁ Fewer (32%) said they attended Mass to feel “connected to their family or the way they grew up.”
⦁ At the very bottom of the list, the least agreed with reason for Mass attendance was “pleasing other people like parents or spouses.” Only 7% agreed with this sentiment, suggesting that an overwhelming majority of young Catholics attend Mass for themselves and not at the urging of others.