Rome (Italy). Less than two months before the 37th World Youth Day, which will be held in Lisbon, Portugal from 1 to 6 August 2023 on the theme “Mary arose and went with haste” (Lk 1:39), the Holy See has made the program of Pope Francis’ trip known, at his fourth WYD after those in Rio de Janeiro (2013), Krakow (2016), and Panama (2019).
The arrival at Lisbon airport is expected in the morning of 2 August. This will be followed by the Welcome Ceremony, the Courtesy Visit of the President of the Republic Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa in the “Palácio Nacional de Belém” and the meeting with the authorities, with civil society and with the diplomatic corps. In the afternoon, he will meet the Prime Minister in the Apostolic Nunciature and, at the Jerònimos Monastery, he will celebrate Vespers with the bishops, priests, deacons, consecrated women and men, seminarians, and pastoral workers.
In the following days, there will be various meetings with young people from various realities: university students, representatives of assistance and charity centers, volunteers, and others. On 5 August, the visit to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima will not be missing, the 2nd for Pope Francis, who had been there on 12 and 13 May 2017, on the occasion of the centenary of the Apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the Cova da Iria. In the Shrine, in the Chapel of the Apparitions, he will pray the Holy Rosary with sick young people.
The other significant appointments in the context of WYD are:
- On 3 August, the Reception Ceremony (Parque Eduardo VII).
- On 4 August, the Via Crucis (Parque Eduardo VII).
- On 5 August and 6 August, in Tejo Park, the central moments: the Vigil and the concluding Holy Mass.
And how are the young people preparing themselves?
There are very many young people aged between 18 and 35 enrolled from all over the world, who are enthusiastically preparing to live this unique experience, after the prolonged wait due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition to the moments of formation and prayer, various and creative are the initiatives with which they have involved the parish communities and the educating communities to support the expenses of the trip.
On 18 May 2023, the Auditorium of the College of Sant’Ana of Setúbal, of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians of the Province of Our Lady of Fatima (POR) hosted a concert of choirs in support of WYD DON BOSCO 23, the Salesian organization of World Youth Day.
WYD is also a reason for hope for the families, dioceses, provinces, associations and organizations that support and accompany this event with prayer, in the certainty that it will be a time of growth for all, as Pope Francis highlighted in his video message of May 4, 2023:
“Participating in the Day is a beautiful thing and when one feels it, one experiences the joy of participating. Prepare yourselves with this joy; put hope in it, because we grow a lot on a Day like this. We don’t realize it, but things stay inside, the values we found inside remain, the relationships we’ve had with young people from other countries, the meetings. Everything stays inside, and above all seeing the strength of young people. The Church has the strength of a young person. So go ahead! I am waiting for you in Lisbon!”.