World Youth Day and World Meeting of Families postponed

Pope Francis has postponed the World Youth Day and the World Meeting of Families because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

According to a Vatican website notice,  the World Meeting of Families will now take place in Rome in June 2022 instead of June 2021.

The notice also says World Youth Day which was to be held in Lisbon in 2022 has been postponed until 2023.

Uncertainty caused by the pandemic and the possibility of a post-pandemic financial crisis are casting a shadow over World Youth Day preparations.

The event attracts hundreds of thousands of people and needs extensive fundraising and planning.

Cardinal Kevin Farrell, who is the prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, says as “no one knows what will happen”, it seemed prudent to push the World Meeting of Families meeting back a year.

The other reason, Cardinal Farrell said, is that although people are talking about “returning to normal” and government leaders are making plans for phasing out lockdowns and reopening businesses, “we do not believe travel will be that extensive” anytime soon.

The dicastery has canceled all international meetings until January 2021.

It is planning a special event for a few young people, however.

In November, a small group from Panama, where World Youth Day was celebrated in 2019, will meet with a few young people from Lisbon on the Feast of Christ the King to hand the World Youth Day cross.

The hand-over was originally scheduled for Palm Sunday, but was postponed because of the pandemic.

If the young representatives from Panama and Portugal are not able to travel to Rome Farrell says Panamanians and Portuguese who live in Rome will participate in the event.


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