Vatican City, 26 July 2015 (VIS) – Following the Angelus prayer, the Pope recalled that registration began today for the 31st World Youth Day, to be held in 2016 in Krakow, Poland. He was the first to register as a pilgrim by means of an electronic device brought to him by a boy and girl, before the faithful in St. Peter's Square. “The Day will coincide with the Year of Mercy”, he observed, “and will be, in a certain sense, a jubilee of youth called upon to reflect on the theme 'Blessed are the merciful, for they will find mercy'. I invite the young from all over the world to live this pilgrimage either by going to Krakow or by participating in this moment of grace within their communities”.
He continued, “In a few days' time it will be the second anniversary of the kidnapping of Fr. Paolo Dall'Oglio. I wish to make a heartfelt and urgent appeal for the liberation of this esteemed religious man. Similarly, I do not forget the Orthodox bishops abducted in Syria, nor all the other people kidnapped in war zones. I hope that the competent authorities, both local and international, may redouble their efforts to enable freedom to be restored to these brothers of ours. With affection and participation in their suffering, let us remember them in prayer, and pray together to Our Lady”.
After praying the “Hail Mary” for these abducted people with all those present in the square, the Pope concluded by commenting that today the Church celebrates the feast of Sts. Anne and Joachim, the parents of the Virgin Mary and therefore Jesus' grandparents. “On this occasion, I would like to greet all grandmothers and grandfathers, and to thank them for their valuable presence in families and for the new generations. Let us greet and applaud all those grandparents who are living, and also those who look upon us from Heaven”.