Pope Francis at the first World Youth Day of his pontificate, in Rio de Janeiro in 2013 

By Christopher Wells

Mar 26 2024

On the fifth anniversary of the Apostolic Exhortation ‘Christus vivit’, Pope Francis invites young people to “make their voices heard” as they “bear witness before everyone to the joy born of friendship with Christ.”

The “certainty” that “Christ is alive and He wants you to be alive” has inspired Pope Francis to write again to young people, on the fifth anniversary of his Apostolic Exhortation, Christus vivit, written in the wake of the 2018 Synod on “young people, faith, and vocational discernment.”

“Above all,” Pope Francis says in the message released on Monday, “I would like my words to be a source of renewed hope” to young people who may feel discouraged in a world “marked by so many conflicts and so much suffering.”

Christ is alive and loves you

The Holy Father assures young people that “Christ is alive and He loves you with an infinite love.” The Holy Father invites them to “walk with Him as a friend, welcome Him into your life, and let Him share all the joys and hopes, the problems and struggles of this time in your life.”

He goes on to remind people of the “great mission” they have received “to bear witness before everyone to the joy born of friendship with Christ,” reminding them of his invitation to make their voices heard and his encouragement to “make a mess,” famously expressed in Spanish as “¡Hagan lío!

Living in the presence of Jesus, the Pope tells young people, will allow their “memory of the past” to prove fruitful and help them to “find courage in the present” and “face the future with hope.”

The hope of the Church ‘on the move’

The Exhortation Christus vivit, Pope Francis says, “is the fruit of a Church that wants to move forward together by listening, dialogue, and the constant discernment of the Lord’s will,” the result of the 2018 Synod on Youth that prepared the way for the current Synod on Synodality.

“Now, at this new stage in our ecclesial journey,” the Pope says to young people, “we need more than ever to draw upon your creativity in order to explore new paths, always in fidelity to our roots.”

Reminding the youth that they are “the living hope of the Church on the move,” Pope Francis thanks them for their presence in and contribution to the life of the Church.

He concludes his message by encouraging them “never to leave us without your good way of ‘making a mess’; your drive, like that of a clean and well-tuned engine; and your own particular way of living and proclaiming the joy of the risen Jesus!” – Vatican News