Pope Francis will be in Portugal from August 1 to 6, 2023, during the World Youth Day (WYD), which will lead thousands of young people from all over the world to invade Lisbon. The event was scheduled for 2022, but was postponed due to the pandemic.
Applications to open early next year and anyone between 14 and 30, Catholic or not, is available. The northern area of the riverfront, between Parque das Nações and Bobadela, degraded and without public use, will be requalified to host the event organized by the Catholic Church.
After a pandemic that forced the preparations to “deep down”, now there is no time to lose. More than 400 volunteers spread across the country’s 21 dioceses are already working on organizing the mega-event. A Local Organizing Committee was also created, the executive body that prepares the WYD in Lisbon, explains Américo Aguiar, auxiliary bishop of Lisbon and president of the WYD Lisbon 2023 Foundation to JN.
The Government also recently announced the creation of a working group, coordinated by José Sá Fernandes – which will begin functions in a week – to monitor the preparation of the conferences and the urban requalification of the riverside area.
It will be between Parque das Nações, Lisbon, and Bobadela, Loures, that WYD will take place. The choice of this part of the city will require the construction of a pedestrian bridge over the Trancão river, which will link the two municipalities, a work that has already started, announced the City of Lisbon this weekend. The land where the Bobadela Logistic Complex is located will also begin to be vacated soon.
During the week of the journey, between August 1 and 6, one of the biggest challenges will be to house the elderly and young people in the country. A “good part” will stay in family homes and the rest in school pavilions, military installations, among others. “According to the needs, we are prepared to extend the accommodation to Santarém and Setúbal. It is a unique and very challenging experience. In terms of logistics, it is almost similar to the Olympic Games”, compares Américo Aguiar.
A week before the meeting with the Pope, the activity “Days in Dioceses” will be held for those who want to come early.
“Young people spread throughout the country before coming to Lisbon. We are surveying how many can receive each city, where there will be activities”, explains the auxiliary bishop of Lisbon. The idea is to receive as many participants as possible. “We don’t want anyone to feel at ease. Those who have the most difficulties, within our possibilities, we’ll try to make them come,” he says. “We are already being contacted by countries all over the world, there is a long desire to come to Portugal”, he also guarantees.