Dear brothers and sisters,
There is an expression that we have heard frequently during these days: “thank you”, or rather, “obrigado”. The Patriarch of Lisbon just told us something very important: that obrigado not only conveys a sense of gratitude for what we have received but also the desire to give in return. In this grace-filled event, we have all received much. Now, as we return home, the Lord makes us, in turn, feel the need to share with others, to bear witness joyfully and eagerly to God, and to what he has poured into our hearts.
Yet before we go our separate ways, I too would like to say obrigado. First of all, to Cardinal Clemente, and with him to the Church and the entire Portuguese people, obrigado. Obrigado to the President of the Republic, who has accompanied us during the events of these days. Obrigado to the national and local institutions for their support and assistance. Obrigado to the Bishops, priests, consecrated men and women and the lay faithful. Obrigado to Lisbon too, which these young people will always remember as a “fraternal home” and “city of dreams”! I also express deep gratitude to Cardinal Farrell, who has been rejuvenated in these days, and to those who prepared this World Youth Day, as well as to those who accompanied us with prayer. Obrigado to the volunteers, to whom we give a heartfelt applause for their great service! Our thanks must go particularly to those who watched over World Youth Day from above, namely the patron saints of the event: especially John Paul II, who brought these World Youth Days to life.
And obrigado to all of you, dear young people! God sees your goodness. He alone knows what he has sown in your hearts. You leave here with what God has sown in your hearts; take good care of it. I would like to recommend that you hold fast to the memory of these days, remembering the best moments, so that when times of fatigue and discouragement come, which are inevitable, and perhaps even the temptation to give up or close in on yourselves, you will be able to recall and relive the experiences and graces of these days. Indeed, never forget who you really are: the faithful holy People of God walking in the joy of the Gospel! I would also like to send a special greeting to the young people who could not be here, and who participated in local initiatives organized by the Dioceses and Bishops’ Conferences in their countries; I am thinking, for example, of our sub-Saharan brothers and sisters gathered in Tangier. A big thanks to all of you.
In a particular way, let us accompany with our affection and prayers those who could not be with us because of armed conflicts and wars. Indeed, there are many wars and conflicts in our world. Thinking of this continent, I feel great sorrow for beloved Ukraine, which continues to suffer greatly. Dear friends, allow me, as an older person, to share with you young people a dream that I carry within me: it is the dream of peace, the dream of young people praying for peace, living in peace and building a peaceful future. As we pray the Angelus, let us place the future of humanity into the hands of Mary, Queen of Peace.
There is one last obrigado I would like to emphasize: obrigado to our “roots”: our grandparents, who passed on the faith to us, who passed on the horizon of a lifetime. They are our roots. Now, as you return home, continue to pray for peace. What is more, you are a sign of peace for the world, showing how the various nationalities, languages and histories can unite instead of divide. You are the hope for a different world. Thank you for this. Onwards!
Now, we come to an eagerly awaited moment: the announcement of the next stage of the journey. Before telling you the venue of the forty-first World Youth Day, I extend an invitation to each of you. I invite young people from all over the world to Rome in 2025, to celebrate together the Jubilee for Young People. I look forward to seeing you in 2025 for the celebration of the Jubilee for Young People. The next World Youth Day will take place in Asia: in South Korea, in Seoul in 2027! Thus, from the western border of Europe it will move to the Far East. This is a marvellous sign of the Church’s universality and of the dream of unity to which you bear witness!
Finally, the last obrigado, that we address is to two special people, to the most important presence in these days. They have been here with us, and they are always with us, never losing sight of our lives, they love us like no one else: obrigado to you, Lord Jesus; and obrigado to you, Blessed Mary our Mother. Now, let us pray together.