Pilgrims carry the World Youth Day cross as Pope Francis joins them in the Way of the Cross at Santa Maria la Antigua Field in Panama City Jan. 25, 2019. (CNS photo/Carlos Jasso, Reuters)

By Asia News

Nov 18 2020

This will mark the beginning of the next World Youth Day (WYD). The 34th edition was held in Panama from 22 to 27 January 2019 (pictured); the next will held in Lisbon in 2023.

VATICAN CITY – Young people from Panama will hand over the World Youth Day (WYD) Cross to young people from Portugal next Sunday, 22 November.

The transfer will take place at the end of the Mass Pope Francis will celebrate at the Altar of the Chair in St Peter’s Basilica on the occasion of the solemnity of Christ, King of the Universe.

At the end of the liturgical service, young Panamanians will pass on the WYD symbols – the Cross and the copy of the Salus Populi Romani icon – to young Portuguese.

In accordance with current health safety regulations, the symbolic transfer will take place in the presence of very small delegations from the two countries.

This will mark the beginning of the next WYD. The previous, 34th World Youth Day, was held in Panama from 22 to 27 January 2019 (pictured); the next is set to take place in Lisbon (Portugal) in 2023.

The Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life, which is in charge of organising the WYD, called on everyone to take part in the virtual Eucharistic celebration, which is carried on Vatican News’ official YouTube channel.

Leaders of youth and young adult ministry from bishops’ conferences around the world and from Catholic movements will take part, starting tomorrow, in a conference titled, “From Panama to Lisbon – Called to Missionary Synodality,” organised by the Dicastery itself.

Both the handover of the WYD symbols and the international meeting, initially set for April 2020, were postponed due to the ongoing global health emergency.

Over the years, the Cross and the Salus Populi Romani Icon have accompanied the preparations for the WYD international edition. Handing over the symbols to young people in the diocese hosting the event always takes place at the end of Palm Sunday celebration led by the Pope in St Peter’s Square.

This tradition dates back to 1984 when, at the end of the Jubilee of the Redemption, Pope John Paul II entrusted young people with the Jubilee Cross, known today as the WYD Cross. Since then, it has been at the centre of every WYD meeting.

In 2003 the Pope offered young people a copy of the Icon of Maria Salus Populi Romani, which supports the Cross in its pilgrimages around the world. – AsiaNews