Young Australians on a transformative journey at World Youth Day

World Youth Day

Young Catholics from Australia are eagerly preparing to participate in next week’s World Youth Day (WYD) in Lisbon, Portugal, which is anticipated to be a life-changing experience for them.

With approximately 3,000 or more young Australians set to make the pilgrimage, this delegation will be one of the largest representing the country at WYD. Joining them will be 19 Australian bishops, nearly half of the total bishops in the country.

This event is seen as a critical moment in the life of the Church in Australia, especially in a society that is becoming increasingly secular and disconnected from matters of faith.

Malcolm Hart, Director of the National Centre for Evangelisation at the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, believes that WYD is an exciting journey of faith and pilgrimage for young people.

“The commitment they have shown is really exciting” Hart affirmed. “It’s also a great opportunity. There is a lot of learning that happens between young people and the bishops.

“The opportunity to go to World Youth Day and meet millions of other young Catholics is a really critical moment in the life of the Church in Australia and particularly for young people” Hart said.

Strong online presence

While most of the participants will be physically present in Lisbon, the event will also have a strong online presence.

Almost every group has set up social media pages to share their experiences, allowing families and friends back home to follow their journey. The time zone issues will be overcome with live broadcasts from Portugal being replayed the following day.

For young Australians, the experiences at WYD represent a moment of faith exploration and growth in their lives. The chance to meet millions of other young Catholics from around the world creates a sense of community and strengthens their connection to their faith.

World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly

Notably, before the main WYD event, there was a special World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly celebrated by Pope Francis at St Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

The theme of this day emphasised the relationship between the elderly and young people, underscoring the importance of the bond in shaping the faith experiences of the youth.

In a heartwarming story, Koe Evangelista, a 22-year-old Australian pilgrim representing young Catholics from Oceania, had the extraordinary opportunity to meet Pope Francis during the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly.

Evangelista felt honoured to be chosen to represent young people and saw it as a chance to bring the prayers and support of his community with him.

“I was bringing all those who I am tied to as well, and I wanted to bring them to Pope Francis and more than that, I wanted to bring all of them to God with me,” he said.


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