Pope Francis has asked Catholic young people around the world to read, meditate and act on the beatitudes as they celebrate World Youth Day in their dioceses in 2014 and 2015 and as they prepare to join him in Poland in 2016.
Taking the text of the beatitudes from the fifth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, Pope Francis has chosen the themes for World Youth Day celebrations for the next three years, the Vatican announced on Thursday.
World Youth Day is celebrated annually on a local level and every two or three years with an international gathering with the Pope. At the end of World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, Pope Francis announced the next international gathering would be held in Krakow, Poland, in 2016.
The annual Rome diocesan celebration with the Pope is held on Palm Sunday each year; the date of the celebration in other dioceses varies.
The themes chosen by the pope, the Vatican said, were:
– For 2014: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt 5:3).
– For 2015: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” (Mt 5:8).
– For 2016: “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.” (Mt 5:7).
In addition to being the former see of Blessed John Paul II, the Archdiocese of Krakow is home to the Shrine of Divine Mercy, encouraging the devotion promoted by St Faustina Kowalska, a Polish nun. The saint said she had a vision of Jesus, who said he would show mercy to those who pray for it and who share that mercy with others.
Announcing the themes, the Vatican noted that during World Youth Day in Rio, Pope Francis asked young people to read the beatitudes and make them a blueprint for their lives.