Some friars and members of the Abbey Youth Group in Galway will travel to Lisbon, joining other pilgrims from the Galway diocese at the World Youth Day (WYD) in Lisbon.


World Youth Day (WYD) is a worldwide encounter with the Pope celebrated about every three years in a different country. Inaugurated by John Paul II, the first one was held in Rome in 1986.


The most recent WYD was celebrated in Panama City, Panamá in 2019 and the next WYD will be held in Lisbon, Portugal this year, 2-6 August. It was originally scheduled to be celebrated in summer 2022 but was postponed due to the Covid pandemic. It is expected between one and two young people will attend. Pope Francis has confirmed that he will be present and participate in the huge gathering.


WYD is open to all young people who want to take part in a festive encounter centred on Jesus Christ together with their peers. This event is an opportunity to personally experience the universality of the Catholic Church, and to share with the whole world the hope of many young people who are committing their lives to Christ, his Gospel and his Church. A bystander’s curiosity must surely be sparked by an international WYD celebration as massive crowds of young people flood the city streets, singing and rejoicing. 


These days are a unique way to deepen faith and grow closer to Christ, through prayer and the sacraments, together with hundreds of thousands of other young people who share faith and hopes.


Pope Francis announced that the theme of this year’s event will be ‘Mary arose and went with haste’ (Luke 1:39). This Bible verse comes from the start of Our Lady’s visit of loving service to her cousin Elizabeth. The Pope also called on Catholics to prepare for the 2023 World Youth Day by meditating on two scriptural passages, ‘Young man, I say to you, Arise!’ (Luke 7:14); and ‘Stand up. I appoint you as a witness of what you have seen’ (Acts 26:16).


Although the main event this WYD will place next to the Parque do Tejo in Lisbon, there are also pilgrimages by the participating youth to the National Sanctuary of Cristo Rei, in Almada, to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima, and also to the birthplace of St Anthony of Lisbon.