WYD, Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life •
The pastoral challenges related to the current health crisis, a synodal approach to youth ministry, evaluating the 2019 World Youth Day in Panama and calling to mind the inspiration for the journey towards World Youth Day in Lisbon in 2023: these were the topics of the international online meeting “From Panama to Lisbon — Called to missionary synodality,” organized by the Dicastery for Youth, Family, and Life. From 18 – 21 November, the coordinators of youth ministry from one hundred countries and thirty-nine international ecclesial movements, associations, and communities participated together—for the first time in a virtual mode—in moments of sharing and prayer, with the intention of giving a new impetus to youth ministry and to take, together, another step forward in the implementation of the 2018 synodal process.—
“I would hope that each of us will strive, to the best of our abilities, to bring back that great spirit which we experienced in Panama and at the Synod of Young People in so many ways,” said Cardinal Kevin Farrell, Prefect of the Dicastery, at the beginning of the meeting. “We must look at Lisbon as a new beginning, a new wine for which new wineskins are needed (…). We hope that in Lisbon, the Church and the world can celebrate a return to life.”
The 270 participants gathered in four plenary sessions. To explore certain issues in-depth, they met twice in small working groups divided by languages and time zones. Together with Monsignor José Domingo Ulloa, Archbishop of Panama, they revisited memories and experiences of the last World Youth Day. Led by Sr. Nathalie Becquart, consultor of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, they discussed how to put the synodal approach into practice in the youth ministry of local Churches. Inspired by a reflection by Sr. Alessandra Smerilli, coordinator of the Economics Task Force of the Vatican Commission for Covid-19, they shared their pastoral experiences of the health emergency over the past several months.
On the final day the Patriarch of Lisbon, Card. Manuel Clemente, extended a cordial invitation to all the meeting’s attendees to participate in the next World Youth Day and in the journey of preparation. Ana Catarina Andrè and Duarte Ricciardi, representatives of the Local Organizing Committee of the Lisbon 2023 WYD, presented some preliminary information on the next World Youth Day. The conference concluded on Sunday 22 November with the celebration of the Solemnity of Christ the King, livestreamed by the Vatican Basilica of St. Peter, at the end of which the Portuguese youth received from their Central American peers the symbols of World Youth Day—i.e., the Cross and a copy of the icon of Maria Salus Populi Romani—which in the upcoming coming years will visit the dioceses of Portugal and other Portuguese-speaking countries as part of the journey of spiritual preparation for the 2023 World Youth Day in Lisbon.