Agatha Lydia Nathania 

By Joseph Tulloch and Devin Watkins

Nov 28 2023

Agatha Lydia Natania, a member of the Vatican’s International Youth Advisory Body, discusses the 2023 Diocesan World Youth Day, and Pope Francis’ reminder that “whatever we face, we can always trust in God.”

“Rejoicing in Hope” was the theme for the 2023 Diocesan World Youth Day.

Held on Sunday, Nov 26, the Feast of Christ the King, the event was celebrated locally in dioceses around the world.

In an interview with Vatican News, Agatha Lydia Natania, a member of the Vatican’s International Youth Advisory Body, spoke about the significance of the celebration, and the Pope’s message of hope.

Called to hope

Natania said the Pope’s message for this year’s diocesan World Youth Day was “very important.”

“We are living in this world where we sometimes, as young people, don’t really believe in hope,” she said. “There is so much suffering, there are so many things that young people are facing.”

“With this message of hope,” she stressed, “Pope Francis really wants to show us that even though there are so many problems in our lives, wherever we go, whatever we face, we can always trust in God.”

The dual commemoration of the Diocesan WYD and the Feast of Christ the King is an opportunity, she said, to reflect on “the greatness of Christ and how we can also shine in our own way.”

As an example of this, Natania, who is from Indonesia but has lived in London for several years, highlighted her own attempts to spread hope across various cultural contexts.

“I like to tell my friends in Europe about the beauty of Indonesia, where we have six official religions.”

“We really can live together,” she said. “Hope really can exist.”

A young voice in the Vatican

Natania went on to discuss her work with the Vatican’s International Youth Advisory Body, noting that it had been established following the 2018 Synod on Young People.

The body, she said, was established after the final synod document called for “a consultative group of young people from diverse places and backgrounds to speak on behalf of young people.”

Its goal, she said, is to “prove that young people have space in the Church and that they are listened to.”

Although based within the Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life, Natania said, it was available for meetings with other Dicasteries. She mentioned, in particular, a series of meetings with the Dicastery for Communication on the topic of social media.

In addition, she said, they had been asked to participate in the Synod on Synodality.

Although the Youth Advisory Body’s tenure is coming to an end soon, said Natania, it had shown that “we young people can walk together with everyone in the Church, and our voice is really listened to.” – Vatican News