Pope thanks WYD Committee for its work and hope

Pope Francis thanks members of the 2023 Lisbon WYD Committee and Foundation who offered their work and their hope during the 6-day event in August.

By Linda Bordoni

“Thank you, thank you for what you have done. Thank you for all you set up so that this World Youth Day could be what it was: A nucleus of evangelisation, of joy, of youthful expression!”

Speaking off-the-cuff to a delegation of members of the 2023 Lisbon World Youth Day Committee and Foundation, Pope Francis recalled the six-day event this summer in the Portuguese capital and expressed his thanks to those who made it happen.

He recalled deep feelings and fond memories “from the Lisbon meeting” and expressed joy for the work of all and for having been able to meet many special people.

Revealing that he has kept a rosary given to him by a 96-year-old woman, the Pope asked the group: “Is she still alive?”  (Yes, they answered.)

“I also remember a 19-year-old girl with a serious illness who had offered her life for the Day thinking she would die. But she was still alive. Is she alive?” he asked. (Yes, was the answer.)

And he recalled the children of a WYD volunteer who died on the job and “how they came with joy and left with the sadness of losing their mother.”

Concluding, he thanked “the so many ordinary people, who offered their work and their hope, and expressing his gratitude also to Portuguese Cardinal Américo Aguiar, Pope Francis handed his prepared speech to the delegation and apologized for not reading it himself as he recovers from a respiratory inflammation.

Prepared speech

In that address, the Pope upheld the palpable feelings of joy in Lisbon during the event, describing them as a testament to the successful realization of Word Youth Day 2023.

He highlighted the inclusive mission undertaken by the Delegation, commending its members for bringing many who are often marginalized into the centre, and for sharing a mission, trusting in each other’s talents.

Finally, he encouraged those present to continue dreaming together and involving new dreamers in building a society that includes and respects everyone.