WYD Lisbon 2023; Lena Castro Valente •
Portugal is already experiencing WYD 2023 to the full with the arrival of thousands of pilgrims and volunteers. World Youth Day requires the involvement of many different areas of society, both civil and law enforcement (police, military). It was necessary to close the land, sea and air borders (Portugal is part of the Schengen area with free movement) because the times in which we live do not allow us to believe that all those who arrive come for good. —
From the Vatican, 26 bodyguards will arrive with the Pope (only 6 will have a gun license on Portuguese soil) who will join the Portuguese police – who have been training intensively for some time – ready to give their lives in defense of the Pope.
The doctors are giving first aid courses to the health volunteers – some of these volunteers are doctors and nurses, others will be so from the course -, as with so many people gathered there can always be some mishap. Paramedics and ambulances are standing by, and hospitals are on standby.
Traffic in Lisbon will be closed in streets surrounding the places where the different activities will take place. Religious houses, schools, parish centers are filling up with young people arriving for WYD. Even the soccer club Os Belenenses has made its training fields available to house those who cannot afford to pay much for accommodation in tents, and has made medical care and breakfast available.
Restaurants have signed up to the food ticket that is provided to pilgrims.
The private houses are also filling up with young people (tomorrow I will receive 3 French women and a friend and neighbor of ours, a Schoenstatter on behalf of Fr. Miguel Lencastre, will receive 10 Brazilians from São Paulo). Each one collaborates as he can.
This is a brief behind-the-scenes portrait of WYD LISBON 2023.
Pope Francis’ itinerary
Francis has a very busy schedule on his way to Portugal. On August 3, he will visit Cascais and meet in person the Scholas Occurrentes that he founded back in 2019.
Cascais has prepared a surprise for him with the elaboration of the world’s largest mural (3 km), which was painted by many people and whose last brushstroke will be given by Francisco himself.
On August 4, he will visit Serafina, a very poor and problematic neighborhood so much to the taste of the Archbishop of the “Villas”. He will visit Fr. Crespo’s social work.
On August 5 he will go to Fatima by helicopter because the Vatican has asked Francis not to make long trips by car.
Our Lady of Fatima also comes to Lisbon
Today (July 31) begins the pilgrimage from Fatima to Lisbon accompanied by the National Scout Corps. The pilgrimage is fluvial and terrestrial and lasts 5 days and, in the different localities, the Andor of Our Lady will be carried on the shoulders. “More than four dozen typical boats of the Tagus, fishermen’s boats of the Tagus estuary, sailboats, private individuals and a great involvement of the Portuguese Navy, guarantee the transportation of about 400 pilgrims who have been coming on foot from Fatima since July 27”. Upon arrival in Lisbon, the image of Our Lady of Fatima will go to the Church of St. Thomas Aquinas, as the core of “an activity on the theme of peace” that will allow visitors to address “a message, a request for peace to world leaders”.
On August 1, in the Aula Magna of the University City, Christopher West, sponsored by AFEP – Association for the Formation of Parents, created years ago by Schoenstatt Mothers from Lisbon – will give a talk linking the Theology of the Body to the Cross of Unity and Schoenstatt spirituality.
The Schoenstatt Girls` Youth is meeting in Lisbon, in the house that the Girls’ Youth has in Restelo next to the Shrine. They have had several activities of which I publish some photos here. But, during WYD there is a whole program to fulfill.
The Schoenstatt Men`s Youth is reunited in the Shrine of Aveiro – at the Mass celebrated on the beach of Barra there were 500, between Pioneers and University students.
The joy of the meeting is great among all, Schoenstatt shouting “Present” at this World Youth Day.
Original: Portuguese. Translation: Maria Fischer @schoenstatt.org