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Lisbon, Portugal became the “capital of the world” last august 01st to 06th as the 16th World Youth Day (WYD) 2023 is held where more than 200 nationalities were represented from all around the globe.
More than a million and a half young people gathered to celebrate this gathering of the youth. Every country in the world is represented (except the Maldives).
This year’s theme is from Luke 1:39: “Mary arose and went in haste”. The theme is an invitation for all young people to be active in their evangelical and missionary endeavors, that they may not only “stand still” but be the main characters in building a fraternal world.
The week-long celebration of the WYD 2o23 is composed of various Rise Up meetings from August 2-4. This Rise Up encounter is a new model of catechism for this year’s WYD where various meetings, catered to different languages, focused on the themes of integral ecology, social friendship, and mercy- key themes in the pontificate of Pope Francis. The Marian themes of these three-day Rise Up encounters is connected to the main theme where it proposes a mission to the young: to dream and commit oneself in generating a new world.
A celebration of the youth would not be complete without the evenings of Youth Festivals held in all areas. This youth festival, composed of various cultural, religious, and sporting events, aims to provide young pilgrims from all around the world the experience of joy, youth, universality and faith. This is to show that the Church is very much capable of using the languages of today’s world without compromising the message she wants to transmit.
Pope Francis’ presence in this WYD is the highlight of this gathering. Youths from all over the world were eager to meet and greet him, albeit only in passing for some. In his welcoming address, he admonished the youth to take courage in changing the world, to “be vibrant echoes of God’s call for love”. His messages were encouragement for the youth to be not afraid, “to walk in hope, [to be mindful] of our roots, and move forward, without fear.”
Also, part of this WYD 2023 is a three-day long Vocational Fair in the City of Joy where young people meet and greet various religious orders, congregations, and other religious institutions. The Pauline Family was also present-from Italy, Spain, Portugal and the Latin Americas, where, among the participants is Sobicain’s collaborator, Jerome Ypulong. The Pauline Family’s theme for this WYD is “connect your life” where it aims to promote to the young people present the importance of not forgetting our connection with Jesus Master, the Way, the Truth, and the Life even amidst the busyness, the fast-paced and technology dependent lifestyle we are living.
Confessions were also heard in the Reconciliation Park, where various languages were made available with more than a hundred priests present. Pope Francis also heard confession last at the said park.
At the sending off Mass led by Pope Francis, he announced that the next World Youth Day will be in Seoul, South Korea. He also invited the youth to participate at the Jubilee of the Youth which will take place in Rome this 2025.