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The Church is not a flash mob, the Pope tells young Catholics

Pilgrims sing and dance in the rain prior to the opening Mass for World Youth Day (CNS)

Young men and women can live a true experience of the Church by joining together and reconnecting with the past, Pope Francis told Catholic young people.

“The genuine experience of the Church is not like a flash mob, where people agree to meet, do their thing and then go their separate ways,” the Pope said in his message for World Youth Day 2017.

The message, released on March 21 at the Vatican, centred on a verse of the Magnificat: “The Mighty One has done great things for me.”

Pope Francis has chosen several verses that reflect on Mary’s faith from the first chapter of the Gospel of St Luke as the themes for World Youth Day 2017-2019. This year and next, World Youth Day will be celebrated on a local level — on Palm Sunday at the Vatican — and in 2019 it will be an international gathering in Panama.

The Pope reminded young people that another event, the Synod of Bishops in 2018, will also help them to reflect on how they “live the experience of faith in the midst of the challenges of our time.”

“It is my hope that the journey toward the World Youth Day in Panama and the process of preparation for the synod will move forward in tandem,” the Pope said.

Meanwhile, the bishops of England and Wales have released a survey of young Catholics ahead of next year’s synod on youth.