Christ: the King of Love and Service

Sunday 26th November 2023

This Sunday, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Christ the King – the end of our liturgical year and an opportunity to reflect on the true kingship of Christ.

The feast is also World Youth Sunday, an observance relaunched by Pope Francis in November 2020 to celebrate, pray for, and encourage all young people in the Church.

Taking inspiration from the words of Pope Francis at the Welcome Ceremony of the 2023 World Youth Day in Lisbon, this year’s theme is “Come and See”, and offers an invitation to young people to take up their role and their unique, God-given mission.

Pope Francis said: “You are not here by accident. The Lord has called you, not only in these days, but from the very beginning of your days. He called you by name.

“Try to imagine these three words written in large letters. Then consider that they were written within you, on your hearts, as if setting the direction of your lives, the meaning of who you are: you have been called by name. Each of us is called by name. You, you and you, all of us here, myself included: all of us have been called by name. Not impersonally, but by name.

“Think of this: Jesus called me by name. His words are inscribed in our hearts, and we come to realise that they are written in the hearts of every one of us, as a kind of title that tells people who we are, who you are. You have been called by name. None of us is a Christian by chance; all of us were called by name. At the beginning of the story of our lives, before any talents we may have, before any shadows or wounds we may be carrying in our hearts, we were called. Why? Because we are loved. This is something beautiful.”

Pope Francis smiles at someone off camera as he is surrounded by young adults wearing colourful World Youth Day t-shirts, while a bishop looks on behind

To reflect more on the words of Pope Francis, repeated to us on today’s feast, we caught up with Fr Michael Deas, Vocations Promoter and Youth Chaplain for the Diocese of Salford.

Focusing on the image of kingship, Fr Michael reminded us that Jesus was not a king of wealth or privilege, but a king of self-sacrifice, a king of love and service.

These attributes, Fr Michael continued, are the motto of our vocations department – “to love and to serve” – and provide the bedrock of any vocation.

He said: “When we’re trying to work out what God has created us for – it may be the ministry to be a priest, to be a nun, maybe to be a permanent deacon, or a wonderful father or mother, or husband or wife, or a single person – it has to include that love and service.

“Pope Francis has a message for young people today, on this feast, about this great, wonderful gift that we become aware of – that God has created us all for a reason out of love. There is a purpose to our lives, something that only we can do, that He has created us to do and to be – and it has to include that sense of to love and to serve, to be like Jesus, the Servant King.

“That’s the message we have today: to know that we are created specially by God and we share that wonderful dignity, and love by serving Him through other people.”

To hear more from Fr Michael about his reflection on today’s feast, watch the video below, or click here to read the full World Youth Day message from Pope Francis.

If you would like to speak to a member of our Vocations Team, please call 0161 817 2226 or email or, or click here.

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Tagged | Catholic Church | Diocese | permanent diaconate | Pope Francis | Priesthood | vocations | Youth

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