The Pope’s video message to Edna, a 17-year-old Portuguese girl who will not be attending WYD due to a serious illness

‘I accompany you on this journey!’

 ‘I accompany you on this journey!’  ING-026
30 June 2023

Pope Francis has responded to a heartfelt letter from a 17-year-old Portuguese girl expressing her admiration for him and her disappointment at being unable to attend the upcoming World Youth Day in Lisbon due to a serious illness.

The young girl, Edna, shared in her touching correspondence that she has been battling a severe illness for the past eight years. She confided in the Holy Father that her doctor does not know when she will meet Jesus, but believes it will be soon. Nevertheless, Edna’s unwavering faith shines brightly, evident in her smile that has touched the people caring for her at the St Maximilian Kolbe parish on the outskirts of Lisbon for over a decade.

Upon hearing that World Youth Day would take place in Portugal, Edna expressed her joy, emphasizing the happiness she derives from watching the Pope speak on television. Each time she sees him, she momentarily forgets her illness, she said. In her heartfelt letter, she told Pope Francis that she had previously registered for the World Youth Day to be held in Lisbon from 1 to 6 August, but her condition prevents her from physically joining him.

The Pope, in a video message, thanked Edna six times. He thanked her for the letter, for her tenderness and the peace in her heart.

“This peace is like a seed planted in the hearts of all of us who see you and all those who talk to you. Thank you! I accompany you on this journey that you are making. I accompany you and I know that you will be well received. I accompany you by praying for you, praying with you, and looking at Jesus, who is always waiting for us. Thank you,” Pope Francis told her.

The Pope ended the video message by blessing Edna. “And now I give you my blessing so that it may also give you strength on this journey,” the Holy Father said.