Young pilgrims joining the Days in the Dioceses before the WYD in Lisbon Young pilgrims joining the Days in the Dioceses before the WYD in Lisbon 

Cardinal Clemente: Youths at Lisbon WYD are a face of hope in the world

In his first press conference on the 37th WYD, Cardinal Manuel Clemente of Lisbon highlights the protagonism of Portuguese youths in the preparation of the event, saying this generation will mark a new future in the country and in the world.

By Lisa Zengarini

The 2023 World Youth Day generation are a “face of hope” in today’s world, the Patriarch of Lisbon said on the eve of the event which runs from off on August 1-6.

Speaking on Monday at his first press conference on the Lisbon WYD, Cardinal Manuel Clemente expressed his certainty that this generation will leave a mark in the future.

A new generation that will leave a mark

He was referring in particular to the tens of thousands Portuguese young people who have joined with enthusiasm and participation in the preparation of the event and whose contribution, he said, has made it possible.

“This experience of service and commitment will not go away”, he remarked. “They are creating a generation which, I am sure, will mark a new future, here and in the world”.

Cardinal Clemente further recalled the strong support given by youth organizations and movements in Portugal to the Bishops’ proposal of Lisbon as the venue of the 37th WYD, which was first launched by the Portuguese Episcopal Conference (CEP) in 2017, and that their pressure for this to happen was “decisive”.

Over 67,000 participants in the “Days in the Dioceses”

The press conference was also attended by Father Filipe Diniz, the director of the Bishops’ National Youth Ministry Department, who has been coordinating the “Days in the Dioceses” (GNDs) organized in the leadup to the WYD, from 26-31 July.

During the week more than 67,000 pilgrims from the five continents were welcomed in the 17 dioceses of mainland Portugal and the islands and offered the opportunity to get to know the local Church, the people and the region.

“Every moment was very special and meaningful”, Father Diniz said, noting that the “protagonism” of young people took to the streets. “We were not left indifferent, society itself was not left indifferent”, said the priest who visited some of the dioceses involved in the initiative.

For his part, Cardinal Clemente noted that participation in the GNDs was “beyond all expectations”, as was that in the pilgrimage of the two symbols of World Youth Day,  the Pilgrim Cross and the icon of the Virgin Mary Salus Populi Romani, which arrived in in Portugal on October 2021.

One million youths expected in Lisbon

Overall, some one million people are expected in Lisbon this week, practically one tenth of Portugal’s population. Regarding the participation of young people from other churches and religions, Cardinal Clemente assured that "Everyone has a place and that those who come must feel at home".

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01 August 2023, 14:16