WYD Day Two: Pope Francis arrives bringing renewed hope and joy

Day two of World Youth Day draws to a close as the arrival of Pope Francis brings a new and renewed energy to the streets of Lisbon.

By Francesca Merlo - Lisbon, Portugal

High emotions filled the air on Wednesday, following days of anticipation and enthusiasm in which throngs of pilgrims descended upon the streets of Lisbon, bearing rucksacks, flags, and sleeping bags.

The city buzzed with a different kind of excitement to that of the days of the young people's arrival, because a different guest was on his way.

As the news of Pope Francis' arrival in Lisbon spread like wildfire, the streets of this already colourful city filled with renewed energy.

Video highlights of Pope Francis' first day in Lisbon

Having ended their "Rise Up" catechesis groups, the young pilgrims dispersed throughout the city, filling the roadside from Figo Maduro airport, where Pope Francis landed, to the National Palace in Belem, the venue of the official welcome ceremony. 

The Pope's schedule included a momentous meeting with the President of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, at the Presidential Palace.

Subsequently, Pope Francis participated in his first public gathering with Civil Society, Authorities, and members of the Diplomatic Corps, before closing his first day with Vespers with Church ministers.

Pope Francis prays Vespers with Church ministers
Pope Francis prays Vespers with Church ministers

As the day progressed, the youth concluded their morning activities and set out to enjoy their lunch break. Many groups leisurely strolled down the Edward VII Park, which had been the site of the opening mass of World Youth Day the previous night.

Music and dance filled the air as the final rehearsals took place, setting the stage for a grand event on Thursday afternoon when the pilgrims would once again gather, but this time, in the presence of the Holy Father.

The welcome ceremony will, in fact, be the first time that all of the pilgrims will be together with the Holy Father, perhaps one of the most exciting moments of WYD, along with the Vigil, which will, however, be bittersweet, as it will be the final event of the five days.

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02 August 2023, 19:41