Thousands of eager Australian pilgrims set for World Youth Day

World Youth Day 2023

More than 3,000 enthusiastic Australian pilgrims are gearing up to embark on a transformative journey to Lisbon, Portugal for World Youth Day 2023.

The event marks it as one of the largest Australian contingents in the history of the gathering.

With just weeks remaining until the August 1-6 celebrations, a group of 25 World Youth Day pilgrimage coordinators recently gathered in Sydney, while others joined the meeting online for a final preparation day.

“This was a great chance for us all to pray together and also to encourage the leaders to remember that they themselves will be on pilgrimage,” said Archbishop Christopher Prowse, chair of the Bishops Commission for Evangelisation, Laity and Ministry.

“These faith-filled Catholics, some of whom have attended several previous World Youth Days, can be an example of prayer, presence and accompaniment – and not be all business, all the time.”

In addition to the week-long event in Portugal, numerous groups of young people from the Oceania region will embark on pilgrimages and retreats to significant locations such as the Holy Land, Rome, Lourdes, Fatima, Avila and Assisi.

The groups are being supported by World Youth Day organisers and Australian dioceses who are providing financial assistance to ensure their participation.

1,000 from Sydney going to Lisbon

Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP leads 1,000 followers from Sydney, the city’s largest ever contingent, alongside Sydney Auxiliary Bishops Daniel Meagher and Richard Umbers.

Archbishop Fisher told nearly 400 pilgrims at a Fidelis formation event that they “will come back to Sydney, to your lives, families, friends, education and work, hopefully as saints-in-the-making, truer believers in God, better lovers of your neighbours, on fire with the Holy Spirit.”

Protests may impact Pope’s visit

On another note, there are concerns that planned protests and strikes in Portugal during August will impact World Youth Day and the visit of Pope Francis for the event.

The pope will also hold a Mass, visit the Fatima sanctuary some 130 km (81 miles) north of Lisbon and meet victims of clergy sexual abuse.

Portuguese teachers, railway workers, police officers and garbage collectors are taking action in an effort to force the government to raise wages and improve their working conditions.

Interior Minister Jose Luis Carneiro has said there will be enough officers to ensure safety at the events involving the pope, so “security will not be affected in any way.”


Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference

Catholic Weekly

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