There have been 15 International World Youth Day celebrations already (since the initiation of WYD’s by St. John Paul II in 1985) where the youth of the world continue to answer the invitation of the Holy Father in staggering numbers, and carry home the message received there to be Christ’s light to the world. While these events are organised by the clergy and laity of the Catholic Church, youth of all faiths are invited to attend and encounter Christ, making this gathering truly universal
Going in haste, like Mary
« Mary arose and went with haste» (Lk 1:39) is the bible quote chosen by Pope Francis as the motto of the World Youth Day that will be held for the first time in the capital city of Lisbon, Portugal. The biblical phrase (a quote from the Gospel of St. Luke) opens the account of the Visitation (Mary’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth), following the Annunciation (the angel’s announcement to Mary that she would be the mother of the Son of God, and the theme of the last WYD, in Panama).
At the Annunciation of Angel Gabriel to Mary she seems disturbed and yet accepts God’s plan for her. She has understood the Angel’s calling and God’s wish for her. Mary replies: “You see before you the Lord’s servant. Let it happen to me as you have said.”
Each of us could ask ourselves:
- How am I to understand God’s plan for me?
- How many times does God call me, challenge me, incite me to action through a voice that rings in my heart?
Mary said: “Yes!” And me? Am I willing to accept what God wants me to do?
- Is Mary a role model for me?
Mary of Nazareth is the great figure of the Christian journey. She teaches us to say yes to God. She was the protagonist of the last edition of WYD and will be so once again in Lisbon.
In the biblical episode of the Visitation, the action of standing up presents Mary as both a woman of charity and a missionary woman. Leaving in haste represents the attitude depicted in Pope Francis’ indications for WYD Lisbon 2023:
« May young people’s evangelisation be active and missionary, for this is how they will recognise and witness the presence of the living Christ».
Addressing young people in particular, and challenging them to be courageous missionaries, the following was written by Pope Francis in the Apostolic Exhortation Christus Vivit:
« Where does Jesus send us? There are no borders, no limits: he sends us everywhere. The Gospel is for everyone, not just for some » (CV 177).
Tools for the WYD pilgrim
The World Youth Day (WYD) Lisbon 2023 app is now available and can be downloaded for free on both Android and iOS. The “Lisboa 2023” app is available in five official languages of the meeting: Portuguese, English, French, Spanish and Italian. It is also accessible in offline mode, allowing access to almost all content even in situations of limited internet access.
In addition to helping pilgrims orientate themselves on everything that is and will happen throughout the week, the application will allow the activation of notifications, for last minute reminders and warnings, and access to useful and emergency contacts. It will also provides the entire programme for the six days of WYD with a schedule of the week’s events for the Central Events, Youth Festival, City of Joy and Rise Up Meetings, the app will also contain a map. This resource will allow pilgrims to interactively locate the different events, visualise the venues and also find information on catering, including restaurants that are part of the catering network, and the location of drinking fountains, toilets in the city, health posts, police stations, among other services.
In these two tools, agenda and map, pilgrims will be able to search for the events they are looking for more information by category, language, time, keywords or even according to the user’s current location.
All the spiritual content of the day, in particular the readings and songs of all the Central Events, as well as the official Hymn and Prayer of WYD Lisbon 2023, will be accessible from the Up2Pray section.
Also in the app it will be possible to access the Carbon Footprint Calculator, developed with the support of Novo Verde/ERP Portugal, which will measure the carbon consumed by each pilgrim. Each person will know the impact of their participation in WYD Lisbon 2023 in terms of carbon footprint, through a questionnaire. This tool begins by identifying the impact on the journey to Lisbon, and daily encourages the user to adopt more sustainable behaviours that allow the mitigation of its initial result. It is in the reserved area of the application that the pilgrim will have access to the Calculator. The launch of this tool is a response to the call to care for the common home that Pope Francis left in the Encyclical Laudato Si’.
Let us pray together for the WYD Lisbon 2023, for all those travelling in these days and for all involved in the preparations and welcome and for all the volunteers supporting and aiding its success.
Pilgrims from Ireland
The Association of Missionaries and Religious of Ireland (AMRI) will for the first time lead a group of 40 young adults to WYD. This group comprises 10 nationalities, a combination of priests, religious sisters, missionaries studying and working in Ireland, and young adults from Dublin City University Inter-faith chaplaincy. The National pilgrimage coordinator, Mr Gerard Gallagher of AMRI says:
“It will be a very joyous occasion and a privilege to join with tens of thousands of young people from around the world to greet Pope Francis and be inspired by his deep faith and vision for peace, justice and care for our Earth.”
Ms Margaret Cartwright and Sr Eileen O’Connell OP (from AMRI-Vocations Ireland) will also lead the pilgrims.
AMRI is also assisting a further 200 young pilgrims from religious orders and congregations and their youth groups to attend WYD. Many of these groups and their congregational leaders have collaborated in a series of ‘pastoral preparations’ online and in person meeting and praying in various churches around Dublin. The groups have also collaborated on safeguarding training, visa applications, registration of clergy and social media teams.
Other highlights at a glance:
- AMRI will collaborate in Lisbon with diocesan groups from Ireland to lead and animate a catechesis site in Colegio do Bom Sucesso.
- One pilgrim from AMRI – Charlene Duff, from Portlaoise, travelling with DCU has been selected to carry the Irish Flag at the opening ceremony on 1 August in Lisbon
- AMRI will lead a catechesis on 2nd August and also take part in the official evening prayer hosted by Ireland at 6pm, which will be led by Archbishop Francis Duffy (Tuam).
- In total approximately 200 will travel to WYD with groups associated with AMRI.
- Approximately 1400 will attend from Ireland
- 12 Irish Bishops will attend WYD – including Bishop Alan McGuckian S.J. (Raphoe Diocese)
- Margaret Cartwright (Vocations Ireland & AMRI) and Anne-Marie Whelan will also be present at the Vocations Fair in Lisbon.
See also https://www.lisboa2023.org/en
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