(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis presided over a prayer vigil in the Basilica of St. Mary Major on Saturday evening, to open the diocesan celebration of World Youth Day, which this year is being marked in dioceses all throughout the world on Palm Sunday.

The Rome diocese has chosen a special Marian theme for its world World Youth Day celebrations this year – celebrations that are also the official opening of preparations for the 2018 Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which is focused on young people, discernment, and vocational accompaniment.

The website of the Rome diocese explains that the desire of the Church is to make young people protagonists of this journey: to allow them, by their prayerful presence, to enter upon the journey of the synodal process.

It was the originator of World Youth Day, Pope St. John Paul II, who decided to make Palm Sunday the day on which the diocesan iterations of World Youth Day would be celebrated in the years between the great worldwide gatherings of young people, the next of which is scheduled to be held in Panama City from January 22-29, 2019.

(from Vatican Radio)

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