(ZENIT News / Lisbon, 03.08.2023).- On Thursday afternoon, August 3, Pope Francis left the Apostolic Nunciature and went by car to Lisbon’s Edward VII Park for the Welcome Ceremony of the 37th Word Youth Day.
After taking some turns in the Popemobile among the young people, the Welcome Ceremony began at 5:45 pm with a song and a brief welcome greeting by the Patriarch of Lisbon, Cardinal Manuel Clemente.
It is with much gratitude and joy that we welcome you to these days so filled with the youth of the Church and of the world.
Full of the multitude of young people that have come to Lisbon and to the land of Portugal. A land long linked to the Apostolic See, which has in Your Holiness its current face, so evangelically expressive and convincing for Christians and for humanity in general.
These days will also be filled with a program replete with meetings and celebrations, which Your Holiness will preside over with the constant youth of spirit that time does not take away from you, but stresses and strengthens. Thank you, Holy Father, because since we proposed to you to celebrate the World Youth Day here, you have always received and responded to our invitation with the greatest good will and encouragement. We need to rejuvenate ourselves with your presence and your words in these days, so that the beauty of the Gospel shines even more, here and in the whole world, in these times in which obstacles are not lacking for the integral and peaceful development of peoples and between peoples. Peoples of which the young people here gathered are face and eloquent and promising expression , including those that have come from countries where difficulties abound.
Obstacles are not lacking, but neither is the will to remove and overcome them, with the enthusiasm and commitment of those that want to build a future that will fulfil human aspirations and God’s desires.
Since the beginning of your Pontificate, Holy Father, you have confirmed that this can happen, being always present there, where there is more life to guarantee and a future to build. Precisely because of that, young people feel you as their natural ally and surround you with great esteem and affection.
And it will be also so these days with us. And I am certain — together with all my brothers and sisters of the Episcopate and of the Church of Lisbon and of Portugal — that the World Youth Day we will live together these days will respond to your constant appeal for a more solidary and fraternal world, as the evangelical truth exacts and for which humanity longs.
Thank you very much, Holy Father. Welcome all to our common home!