(Source: CD/Devin Watkins, Vatican News)

Pope Francis has encouraged participants in an annual youth festival at Medjugorje to discover the true adventure of life in the encounter with Jesus.

The annual International Youth Festival is taking place at the Marian shrine in Medjugorje from 31 July to 6 August.

Over 50,000 young people and 400 priests descend every year on the city in Bosnia and Herzegovina for the opportunity to enhance their spiritual life through prayer, Adoration, testimonies, and music.

Pope Francis got in on the action this year with a message encouraging young Catholics to allow Jesus to transform their lives.

Discover new way to live

The Pope called the festival a special moment of “prayer, catechesis, and fraternity.”

“It offers all of you the opportunity to encounter Jesus Christ,” he said, “especially in the Eucharist where He is praised and adored, and in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.”

Young people, he added, can even discover a new way to live, which is “different from the one offered by our culture of the temporary, according to which nothing can be definitive and the only thing that matters is enjoying the present moment.”

In that context of “relativism,” Pope Francis said the festival at Medjugorje this year invites young people to “Come and See.”

Renewed in encounter with Jesus

“Do not be afraid!” he urged them. “Christ is alive and desires that each of you live. He is the true beauty and youth of this world.”

The Pope said Jesus renews us when we encounter Him. “We receive the mission to transmit this experience to others, while keeping our eyes fixed on Him.”

And he urged young people to take time to be with the Lord in prayer to discover the true adventure of life.

Risky undertaking

Pope Francis went on to reflect on how the Virgin Mary acts as a model for those who follow Jesus.

“Her ‘yes’,” he said, “involves putting ourselves on the line and taking a risk, without any guarantee besides the certainty of being bearers of a promise.”

Our Lady’s example, he added, shows us the beauty of life when we entrust ourselves freely to the hands of God. “May her example captivate and guide you!”

Enrich Church with youthful faith

In conclusion, Pope Francis called on young Catholics at the Medjugorje festival to enrich the Church with their enthusiasm, intuition, and faith.

“I entrust you all to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and I invoke the light and strength of the Spirit, so that you might be true witnesses to Christ.”

More on Novena on youth in the Church:

“Social distancing doesn’t mean abandonment”: Vatican launches #sendyourhug campaign for youth to help elderly through COVID-19

26/7: Angelus: Francis urges young people to reach out to elderly with “inventiveness of love”

Pope praises “sincerity, joy and cheerfulness” of disabled boy who completed Camino de Santiago pilgrimage

Youth promise Pope redoubled efforts on “economy of relationships” in wake of coronavirus


PhD in ancient Jewish/Christian history and philosophy. University ethics lecturer with 4 years' experience in religion journalism.