World Youth Day 2023

23 August, 2023

Celebrating Faith and Unity

Caritas Jerusalem's Participation in World Youth Day 2023

“Let us carry Jesus within our hearts and bring him to all those whom we meet!” Pope Francis – WYD, Lisbon 2023

Catholic youth worldwide, embarked on a journey of faith and service by participating in World Youth Day 2023 (WYD2023). This significant event occurred in Lisbon, Portugal, from August 9 to 13, 2023, bringing together millions of young Catholics from diverse cultures. The event ignited a profound sense of faith and fostered unity among these youth.

Caritas Internationalis and Caritas Jerusalem with the collaboration of Caritas Portugal was presented by a Caritas Youth booth as a means for the youth to encounter Caritas mission while exhibiting the beauty and significance of the Holy Land olivewood rosaries that hold a more profound significance beyond their beauty and craftsmanship. These rosaries serve as bridges that beckon the faithful to connect with the Holy Land on a profound level. Nisreen Awwad, the head of the socio-pastoral intervention in Caritas Jerusalem, arranged a meetup for the youth and conveyed the humanitarian role that Caritas Jerusalem plays in the Holy Land. She encouraged young Catholics from all corners of the globe to consider solidarity pilgrimages .

“Take heart, do not be afraid,” these were the last words H.H Pope Francis addressed the participating youth with, as he presided over the closing Mass in the Tijo Nature Park, which was attended by 1.5 million young adults, and concelebrated by 10, 000 priests, 600 Bishops, and 30 Cardinals. Inspired by the Gospel of the Transfiguration, His Holiness urged the Christian youth “to shine” the light of God in the world, “listen” to the word of God that leads to life, and to “be unafraid” to change the world.” As a humanitarian entity representing the Catholic Church's socio-pastoral services in the Holy Land, Caritas Jerusalem has taken a significant step to empower Christian families and change their world.  It achieved this by crafting and blessing 170,000 olivewood rosaries for distribution during WYD2023 and one million and half rosaries for WYD 2019. These rosaries symbolize more than just a string of beads; they encapsulate the essence of prayer, peace, and unity. Each bead, meticulously shaped, carries the collective hopes and aspirations of generations, forging a timeless bond of faith that spans the past, present, and future.  

Through the creation of these rosaries, these families have discovered a sustainable source of income and a compelling reason to remain connected to their ancestral homeland. In her apparitions, Virgin Mary has always urged Christians all over the world to pray the rosary for peace and help one another. This was emphasized through the Message of his Holiness Pope Francis for the 37th  World Youth Day 2022-2023 for the youth: “Each of you can ask: “How do I react to the needs that I see all around me? Do I think immediately of some reason not to get involved? Or do I show interest and willingness to help?” To be sure, you cannot resolve all the problems of the world. Yet you can begin with the problems of those closest to you, with the needs of your own community. Someone once told Mother Teresa: “What you are doing is a mere drop in the ocean”. And she replied: “But if I didn’t do it, that ocean would have one drop less”.

Caritas Jerusalem aspires to participate in the next World Youth Day which will be held in Seoul, the capital of South Korea in 2027 to continue this journey of faith and unity.