Lisbon, Portugal, August 1-6, 2023. Once every four years, the Church organizes a historical event that brings youths from across the entire world together. Lisbon in Portugal hosted the 2023 edition of this special event with the theme: Mary Arose and Went with Haste (cf. Luke 1:39). Pope Francis in the company of many Bishops and Priests numbering over seven thousand (7000) from different parts of the world, graced the celebration which featured the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, Sacrament of Reconciliation, Benediction, Way of the Cross, Talk shows, Youth festival, Dramas, Music and different forms of entertainment and side attractions. Over 1.5 million young people attended the event.
Claretian youths, under the name Claret Way participated outstandingly at Lisbon 2023. A little above 1,400 young people from across the many countries where the Claretian Missionaries work participated fully at the events along with those responsible for the Youth Ministry in different Organisms. The West Nigeria Delegation was ably represented by Fr Kenneth Opara, CMF.
It began at Carvalhos Porto where everyone converged on July 28, 2023. Events and activities particular to our unique style of life as Claretians marked the programmes of the entire three-days camping until the morning of August 1, when all travelled to Lisbon to join in the larger celebration. It was indeed an amazing period for the young people where colours, languages and races harmoniously meet and embraced. The world gathered as one family of God’s children and spoke the same language of love.
In His homily at the closing Mass, the Pontiff reiterated the need for everyone to join hands in protecting the environment. He charged the youths to strive hard to preserve the earth. No doubt, it was a gathering that rekindles missionary fire for so many years to come.
The next World Youth Day events will be hosted by South Korea in 2027. We look forward to when Africa will host this awesome event.