Hannah Brockhaus, CNA/EWTN News
Young people are the subject of Pope Francis’ universal prayer intention for April, and in his prayer video presenting the petition, the pontiff challenges them to “be the protagonists of change.”
Released April 4, the video opens with Pope Francis saying, “I know that you, young people, don’t want to be duped by a false freedom, always at the beck and call of momentary fashions and fads.”
“I know that you aim high. Is that true, or am I wrong?” he asks.
As the video continues, a young woman is shown packing a backpack and heading out into the world. “Don’t leave it to others to be the protagonists of change,” Francis says.
“You, young people, are the ones who hold the future. I ask you to be builders of the world, to work for a better world.”
“It is a challenge, yes it is, do you accept it?” he asks, as the video shows the young woman working with others to safely help refugees, wearing orange life vests and packed tightly in a life boat, safely onto a larger boat.
“Pray with me that young people may respond generously to their own vocation and mobilize for the great causes of the world,” the Pope concludes.
The Pope’s intention for April corresponds with the diocesan-level “World Youth Day,” which takes place on April 9 this year.
World Youth Days are held internationally every two or three years, and take place at the diocesan level during all other years. The last international World Youth Day was in Krakow, Poland in 2016. The next will take place in Panama in January 2019.
Pope Francis also released a video March 21 in anticipation of this year’s World Youth Day, telling youth that like the Virgin Mary, they are needed, and they should not be afraid to leave their mark on the world.
“Like the young woman of Nazareth, you can improve the world and leave an imprint that makes a mark on history, your history and that of many others,” he said in the message.
“The Church and society need you,” he emphasized.
The Apostleship of Prayer, which produces the monthly videos on the Pope’s intentions, was founded by Jesuit seminarians in France in 1884 to encourage Christians to serve God and others through prayer, particularly for the needs of the Church.
Since the late 1800s, the Jesuit-run global prayer network has received a monthly, “universal” intention from the Pope. In 1929, an additional missionary intention was added by the Holy Father, aimed at the faithful in particular.
Starting in January, rather than including a missionary intention, Pope Francis has elected to have only one prepared prayer intention – the universal intention featured in the prayer video – and will add a second intention focused on an urgent or immediate need if one arises.
The Pope’s prayer videos are filmed in collaboration with the Vatican Television Center.