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Pope Francis’ itinerary for World Youth Day 2023

The Holy See Press Office releases the itinerary of Pope Francis’ visit to Portugal from 2 to 6 August for the 37th World Youth Day.

By Francesca Merlo

The Holy See Press Office on Tuesday, 6 June, released Pope Francis’ schedule for the 2023 World Youth Day, to take place from 1 to 6 August 2023 in Lisbon, Portugal.  

Over 400,000 young people have registered to take part in the event on 1-6 August 2023.

In a video message released earlier this month, the Holy Father said that the desire of these young people to travel to the Portuguese capital later this year fills him with joy.

Pope Francis has presided over four World Youth Days, having previously done so in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2013; Krakow, Poland, in 2016; and Panama City, Panama, in 2019. 

World Youth Day in Lisbon will be the 37th, and was originally scheduled to take place in the Portuguese capital in 2022, but was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

For this year’s WYD’s motto, Pope Francis has chosen a passage from Luke’s Gospel: “Mary arose and went with haste” (Lk 1:39), which opens the account of the Visitation, when Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth following the angel’s announcement to the Blessed Mother that she would be the mother of the Son of God.

Pope’s itinerary

Wednesday 2 August: arrival in Portugal

The Pope will depart at 7.50 am on Wednesday 2 August from Rome’s Fiumicino airport and arrive at 10 am at the Figo Maduro air base in Lisbon. Immediately afterwards, he will be greeted at the National Palace in Belèm by the President of the Republic Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa. Also in the Belèm district, in the cultural centre, he will meet the authorities, civil society and the diplomatic corps. At 4.45 p.m. in the Apostolic Nunciature, he will meet with the Prime Minister and at 5.30 p.m., in the famous Monastery dos Jerònimos, he will celebrate Vespers with bishops, priests, deacons, consecrated men and women, seminarians and pastoral workers.

Thursday 3 August: welcoming ceremony for the WYD

On Thursday morning, Pope Francis will meet the students on the premises of the Universidade Catòlica Portuguesa. Then he will leave Lisbon for nearby Cascais, where he will greet the young people of Scholas Occurentes who have their headquarters there. In the afternoon he will return to the Portuguese capital for the welcoming ceremony of WYD, which will take place at the Edward VII Park.

Friday 4 August: Way of the Cross with young people

Some young people from WYD will receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation from the Pope in the “so Impèrio” square in Belèm on the morning of Friday 4 August. At around 9.45 am, Francis himself will go to the “de Serafina” parish centre to meet with representatives of some assistance and charity centres. At 12 noon there will be lunch with young people in the Apostolic Nunciature, while at 6 pm the Pontiff will preside over the Stations of the Cross with young people in Edward VII Park.

Saturday 5 August: visit to Fatima and WYD vigil

The Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima will be visited by the Pope on the morning of Saturday 5 August. Francis will leave Lisbon by helicopter for the Fatima Stadium at 8.00 am and at 9.30 am will pray the Holy Rosary with the sick young people at the Chapel of Apparitions. Around noon, he is scheduled to return to the capital. Two appointments are scheduled: at 6 pm the usual private meeting with members of the Society of Jesus at the Colégio de S. João de Brito and at 8.45 pm, as mentioned, the vigil with young people will take place in Tejo Park.

Sunday 6 August: Holy Mass and the return to the Vatican

The concluding Mass for World Youth Day will be celebrated by the Pope again in Tejo Park on Sunday 6 August at 9 a.m. In the afternoon there will be a meeting with the WYD volunteers at the ‘passeio marìtimo’ in Algès, before the farewell ceremony at the Figo Maduro airbase.

The Pope’s return flight to Rome will leave at 6.15 p.m. and arrive at Fiumicino airport at 10.15 p.m.

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