Pope Francis at lunch with ten young people in the Apostolic Nunciature in Lisbon Pope Francis at lunch with ten young people in the Apostolic Nunciature in Lisbon  (Vatican Media)

Pope enjoys lunch with 10 young WYD pilgrims: 'Don’t lose the joy of life'

Pope Francis has lunch with ten young people taking part in World Youth Day in Lisbon, answering their questions on various topics and telling them not to lose the joy of life.

By Vatican News staff reporter

Sebastião, Clara Ysabel, Joana, Luis Carlos, Beatriz, Pedro, Audrey, Hannah, Karam, and Maria Magdalena are the names of the ten young people - six girls and four boys - who had lunch with Pope Francis of Friday in the Apostolic Nunciature in Lisbon.

Their ages ranged from 24 to 34, and they hailed from different countries: three from Portugal, and then one each from Peru, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea; United States, Palestine, Colombia, and Brazil.

Cardinal Manuel José Macário do Nascimento Clemente, the Patriarch of Lisbon, and the auxiliary bishop, Cardinal-elect Amèrico Aguiar, president of the WYD Lisbon 2023 Foundation, also attended. The menu included pasta, meat, and ice cream.

Questions discussed with the Pope

During the meal, Pope Francis didn’t ask questions but rather listened to their stories, answering their questions, clarifying doubts and offering food for thought.

He also encouraged them to always be "happy", like the saints who are never sad. They discussed a number of topics: peace, abortion and euthanasia, the challenges facing young people, and their hopes for the future. Eight of them spoke with excitement about their experience at the WYD Media Centre in Lisbon.

“We presented our gifts," said Audrey, "and during lunch we had the opportunity to ask him a few questions. I asked him how to be a good friend, especially with young people, at a time when there are so many false suggestions on how to be happy. I was really touched by his answer. He said that joy is not taught, but shown, and that's what I will bring back with me from this meeting. He also spoke about the joy of the Gospel and the importance of acting in a way that inspires joy.”


"I told him that for young people, hope is so important," explained Luis Carlos, who worked on the graphics for this WYD, "and that we can find hope to fight all the negative things in life, especially those that affect young people, like drugs. Hope allows you to fight and therefore to be happy. From all the work I've done preparing for WYD with graphics, this has been a wonderful conclusion to all my behind-the-scenes work. When I saw the Pope, I felt peace in myself. I thought I was going to cry, but he just calmed me down. I was the first to greet him. We also had Colombian coffee at the end of the lunch. God manifests himself in strange ways.”

Each of the young people greeted Pope Francis with a gift. Pedro Luis Carlos gave him a letter, in which he wrote: "I want to give my life to the Church."

Thank you for reading our article. You can keep up-to-date by subscribing to our daily newsletter. Just click here

04 August 2023, 20:33