The Journey to Lisbon for World Youth Day Begins Now

The Journey to Lisbon for World Youth Day Begins Now

Pope Francis is inviting young people from around the world to meet him in Portugal in 2023 for a celebration of our faith known as World Youth Day (WYD). The Diocese of St. Petersburg is organizing a delegation of local youth, young adults, and families. Early registration is already underway and ends on December 31, 2021.

“If you feel called to go, your journey starts now. For the next two years, our diocese will be hosting youth/young adult events, retreat days, fundraisers, Masses, and we’ll be helping to form smaller pilgrimage groups to build community,” said Ryan Phelan, Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of St. Petersburg.

In addition to attending Mass celebrated by the Holy Father, participants will spend three days in Fatima where the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to three children starting in May of 1917. The apparitions culminated in October of 1917 with the Miracle of the Sun. Pilgrims will also be visiting a town called Santarem where a Eucharistic Miracle took place.

“If you are thinking about going, I would tell you to go. World Youth Day is special, and each one is different. If the Holy Spirit is calling, anything is achievable. WYD is life changing,” said Ryan.

Alexandra Steele, a young adult Catholic who belongs to St. Jerome Parish attended WYD in 2016 in Krakow, Poland.

“It was an experience I’ll never forget. This trip was not only an incredible opportunity to see the world, but it also opened my eyes to the magnitude and universality of the Catholic Church. This experience was one of many that propelled me deeper into my faith and on to pursue a life of mission. Many times, the Lord uses retreats, mission trips, or pilgrimages to draw us closer toward Him and He did just that with WYD,” she explained.

Bishop Gregory Parkes is encouraging youth and young adult to attend WYD since it’s such a unique and powerful event that has transformed so many lives.

“It is a witness of our faith to the rest of the world, by showing that we are united in Christ. World Youth Day is an experience like no other. It’s a gathering of many languages, cultures, and walks of life,” said Bishop Parkes.

About the Diocese of St. Petersburg Pilgrimage to World Youth Day

Date: July 28th-Aug. 8th, 2023

Preparation: There will be at least four pre-trip retreats that include prayer, engaging talks and moments to encounter the Lord.

Cost: $4,000, fundraising is available and easy.

Early Registration Deadline: December 31, 2021.

Who Can Attend: Must be at least 16 to participate. Those under 18 must attend with adult family member or chaperoned youth group. Families are also welcome.

What is a pilgrimage: Time set aside for God to be strengthened in faith.

About World Youth Day: Every three years, the Holy Father calls Catholic youth and young adults from around the world to gather together. It’s a meeting with the pope and around two million members of the Catholic family. Participants encounter the Lord, connect with others from around the world and experience the universality of the Church in a new way.

Learn More: Click this link or contact Ryan Phelan for more information on pricing, retreats, and other diocesan events. You can also read more at this link.

To prepare for both World Youth Day and the Celebration of Young People, this prayer provided by the USCCB, and Pope Francis, can be recited:

    Jesus Christ, King of the Universe,

    to you we turn in humble prayer.

    Look with favor upon all young people,

    bearers of hope for the Church and the world.

    Jesus Christ, companion of youth and young adults,

    bless the paths of discovery and discernment,

    through times of joy and experiences of hardship,

    with the constant love and support of your Church.

    Jesus Christ, alive in all the hearts of all your people,

    grant that we may ‘journey together, young and old …

    to nourish our enthusiasm, cause dreams to emerge, awaken

    prophesies and enable hope to blossom.’

    Jesus Christ, Redeemer of all humankind,

    open our hearts to encounter all young people,

    to accompany and be in community together,

    and as one Church, embark upon our holy mission.

    Jesus Christ, in the company of the Father and the Holy Spirit,

    graciously hear our prayer and be with us forevermore. Amen.

Margaret Hynes contributed to this article.

Photo Caption: Alexandra Steele (pictured on the left) is shown with two other pilgrims at World Youth Day 2016 in Poland.