Christian youth festival (World Youth Day 2016) advocates and prays for young persecuted Christians
World Youth Day is a great festival of faith, friendship, enthusiasm and community. It shows how much good there still is in young people, who share, with their peers, the joy of building a modern world based on the Christian virtues of faith, hope and love.
In only a week's time, at the end of July, thousands of young people from all over the world will take part in greeting Pope Francis in Krakow, Poland (the host city for this World Youth Day).
However, we can’t forget about those who won’t be able to participate in this great spiritual experience. All over the world, there are about 100 million people who are undergoing persecution because of their Christian faith.
A high proportion of this massive group are young people, who are being treated with hostility at schools and in local communities - simply because of their faith in Jesus.
To help them endure this trial and persevere in their faith, they need our prayers and strong signs of protest against the persecution of Christians.
Nowadays young people suffer because of wars, which always go together with extreme poverty, orphanhood, hunger and disease. Some of our peers must face challenges which are seemingly beyond their human powers. Their life chances are totally different than ours: their access to education, the possibilities of finding a job, and the peaceful protection of their family life are all difficult to predict.
As hosts, participants, volunteers and observers of World Youth Day, we are calling for the equal right to freedom of religion for young people all over the world. All of us desire to live with the expectation that our own lives will always be valued and respected by others, and that we will do the same for other people.
We, therefore, call for the protection of our friends who are persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ. And, we speak in the name of those who cannot come to Poland because of poverty, war, and violence. We sincerely desire respect for every human being, since everyone is made in the image and likeness of God.
And, we believe that during each World Youth Day there will be more and more of us committed to such ideals, with the effect that we will be able to demonstrate - to the world - that Christianity is a religion of solidarity and love.
Photo by Jakub Szymczuk.