Vatican News
2020.10.16 WYD Lisbon 2023 logo 2020.10.16 WYD Lisbon 2023 logo  

US Bishops invite youth to join WYD 2023 celebration

Bishops in the United States are inviting young people to take part in the celebration of the 38th World Youth Day to be held in Lisbon, Portugal, in 2023.

By Lisa Zengarini

Following the recent announcement of the official dates of World Youth Day Lisbon 2023, US Bishops have invited young Americans to join the celebration of this major international event. On October 4, Cardinal-Patriarch Manuel Clemente of Lisbon announced that the 38th WYD will take place from 1 to 6 August 2023. Pope Francis is expected to officially close it.

In a statement released last week, Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, and Bishop Edward J. Burns, the USCCB’s episcopal liaison to World Youth Day, expressed the Bishops’ joy over the news and their hope that many young people in the United States will take part in one way or the other. “Whether you plan to travel to Lisbon, participate through digital media, or join your peers at one of many local celebrations taking place in dioceses across the country, we want you to be part of this moment in the life of the Church”, the statement reads.

Hope for a transformative impact on young people

According to US Bishops, “it is providential” that the WYD Mass with the Holy Father will take place on the feast of the Transfiguration, on August 6. “The experience of Peter, James, and John at the Transfiguration was a pivotal moment of transformation for them.  We hope that WYD will have a similar impact on young people today, no matter where or how they make this pilgrimage to celebrate this special international festival of faith”, the two prelates said.

The first Wyd in 1986

World Youth Day was initiated by St. John Paul II in 1985 to draw together youth and young adults, aged between 16 and 35, from every continent for a worldwide pilgrimage and festival of faith along with the Holy Father. The first WYD took place in 1986, in Rome, and since then has been held every two to three years in a different country. In between the WYD is celebrated every year at a Diocesan level.

WYD Lisbon 2023 theme

The last international venue was held in Panama City in 2019. The Lisbon WYD gathering was originally scheduled for Summer 2022 but was postponed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The theme chosen by Pope Francis for the event is “Mary rose up and went with haste” (Lk 1:39), recalling Mary’s rush to meet her cousin Elizabeth and her “yes” after the Angel Gabriel's annunciation of Christ's birth.  The USCCB will be developing materials and supporting local communities in the coming months before WYD 2023, which can be found online at:

This year's Diocesan edition  

This year the Diocesan edition of World Youth Day will be celebrated, for the first time, in the solemnity of Christ the King of the Universe, on November 21, instead of Palm Sunday. On September 27, Pope Francis' issued his Message for the Day titled: “Stand up. I appoint you as a witness of what you have seen (cf. Acts 26:16)”. The text is part of a cycle of three messages accompanying young people in the journey towards WYD Lisbon 2023 and which are all focused on the verb “arise”. Also, the Vatican Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life has recently published Pastoral Guidelines for the Celebration of World Youth Day in the Particular Churches intended to encourage them to give increasingly more importance to the Diocesan celebration.  

11 October 2021, 17:45