Faith and Spirituality

1,500 Filipinos attending 2023 World Youth Day in Portugal

James Patrick Cruz

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1,500 Filipinos attending 2023 World Youth Day in Portugal

YOUNG FAITHFULS. Filipino delegates from Cebu go to Lisbon, Portugal for the 2023 World Youth Day.

Commission on Youth Cebu/Facebook

The World Youth Day is close to Filipinos’ heart since it was once held in Manila under the papacy of Pope John Paul II in 1995

MANILA, Philippines – At least 1,500 Filipinos traveled to Lisbon, capital of Portugal for the 2023 World Youth Day, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said.

The Filipino delegates came from different dioceses, religious congregations, and lay church organizations across the Philippines.

Bishop Rex Andrew Alarcon of Daet, head of the CBCP – Episcopal Commission on Youth said this gathering is “an opportunity to encounter the Lord through other people, to share our faith and our culture, as well as to be enriched by the giftedness of others.”

“[The] WYD also aims to bring the message of hope to many young people in a wounded world…where young people are losing hope,” he said.

The Lisbon edition of this international event described as a “gathering of young people from all over the world with the Pope” will be held from August 1 to 6.

The theme of this year’s World Youth Day is “Mary arose and went with haste” (Luke 1:39).

Asked why he chose Mary as the theme for World Youth Day, Pope Francis said: “Because as soon as Mary knew she was going to be the mother of God, she didn’t stay there taking a selfie or showing off. The first thing she did was to set out on a journey, in haste, to serve, to help. You too have to learn from her to set out on a journey to help others.”

The Pope also highlighted the role of the youth in the Church saying that it is not meant to cater exclusively to the elderly or the youth.

“The Church is not an old people’s club any more than it is a youth club. If it becomes something for old people, it will die. Saint John Paul II used to say that if you live with young people you become young yourself. The Church needs young people so it doesn’t grow old,” he said.

According to the Vatican, the Bishop of Rome would take advantage of the trip to travel also to the Shrine of Fatima on August 5.

The Catholic Church teaches that Mary appeared to three Portuguese children 100 years ago in what was then an impoverished farming village. The Pope last visited the shrine in 2017 when he declared two of the children saints.

The World Youth Day is close to Filipinos’ hearts since it was once held in Manila during the papacy of Pope John Paul II in 1995. 

World Youth Day is celebrated every three years and hosted by different countries. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was postponed in 2022. – with a report from Reuters/ Rappler.com

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