(ZENIT News / Washington, 07.24.2023).- Over 1,300 groups comprised of more than 28,600 individuals from across the United States, will travel to Lisbon, Portugal, for the thirty-seventh World Youth Day (WYD) gathering with Pope Francis. While registration numbers are still continuing to rise, the United States is among the five largest delegations participating in WYD, which is taking place August 1-6, 2023. Most U.S. pilgrims to WYD are young adults between the ages of 18 and 25.
“Our country is very much looking forward to this pilgrimage,” said Bishop Robert E. Barron of Winona-Rochester, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, which oversees the U.S. involvement in WYD. Bishop Barron, along with 60 other U.S. bishops, will be accompanying young people to Lisbon. He went on to say, “This is a wonderful occasion for young adults to have a significant encounter with Jesus Christ in the company of the universal Church. It is also a moment when the Holy Father and the Church’s leadership get an opportunity to listen to the young people present, teach and form them in the Gospel, and ultimately send them towards their vocation and mission in the world.”
U.S. pilgrims will be staying in parishes, campuses, homes, and hotels around Lisbon during the week of WYD, taking part in prayer and liturgies, daily catechesis, concerts, presentations, dialogue, service, and networking with young adults from around the world. More than 35 bishops from the U.S. will also serve as lead bishops for the daily catechetical sessions called “Rise Up!”.
Pope Francis will join the WYD pilgrims on August 3, for a Welcome Ceremony in the city center. He will also preside at a Way of the Cross on August 4, a prayer vigil on August 5, and the WYD Closing Mass, with an anticipated crowd of a million or more, on August 6.
The USCCB is planning a National Pilgrim Gathering for all U.S. pilgrims on August 2, at 7:00 p.m. local Lisbon time, in Parque da Quinta das Conchas, an open park in the city. After time of music and testimony by young adults, Bishop Barron will offer a keynote address and, with Bishop Edward Burns of Dallas, lead a Holy Hour as part of the National Eucharistic Revival initiative.
The USCCB’s Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life, and Youth recently collaborated with WYD organizers in Lisbon and Oregon Catholic Press (OCP) on the English version of the official WYD hymn, “Feel the Rush in the Air,” which was released earlier this month by OCP.
World Youth Day began in 1986 as an initiative, inaugurated by St. John Paul II, to bring young people from around the world together to encounter Christ and the universal Church. WYD officially takes place every year as a Global Celebration of Young People (now celebrated on Christ the King Sunday); however, every 2 to 4 years, a major international event is held in a different location around the world. Past WYDs have included Buenos Aires (1987), Santiago de Compostela (1989), Czestochowa (1991), Denver (1993), Manila (1995), Paris (1997), Rome (2000), Toronto (2002), Cologne (2005), Sydney (2008), Madrid (2011), Rio de Janeiro (2013), Krakow (2016), and Panama (2019).