World Youth Day 2023
Crowds at the Welcoming Ceremony for Pope Francis
Date1–6 August 2023[1]
LocationLisbon, Portugal
Coordinates38°47′29″N 9°05′39″W / 38.791258°N 9.094121°W / 38.791258; -9.094121
TypeYouth festival
ThemeMary arose and went with haste (Lk 1:39)
Organised byCatholic Church
ParticipantsPope Francis
Previous2019 Panama City
Next2027 Seoul

World Youth Day 2023 (Portuguese: Jornada Mundial da Juventude de 2023) was the 2023 installment of World Youth Day, a recurring Catholic festival. The 2023 event was held in Lisbon, Portugal, which was announced at World Youth Day 2019 in Panama City, Panama.

About 354,000 pilgrims from more than 200 countries were registered, including 688 bishops, and the event was aided by 25,000 volunteers.[2] The closing Vigil and Mass had an estimated 1.5 million attendees.[3]

Host city

The host city for a 2022 event, was announced by Pope Francis and Bishop Kevin Farrell at the end of the closing Mass of the World Youth Day 2019 event in Panama City.[4][5] in the presence of thousands of young people from all over the world, including 300 Portuguese young people. Also present were the Patriarch of Lisbon, Manuel Clemente, the president of the Portuguese Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, the secretary of state for Youth and Sports, João Paulo Rebelo, representing the Government of Portugal, and the mayor of Lisbon, Fernando Medina, as well as ambassadors, six bishops (from the dioceses of Lisbon, Guarda, Coimbra, Braga and Bragança-Miranda) and several priests.[6] In a press conference, the president of the Episcopal Conference of Portugal (CEP) said that he expected to receive between 1 and 2 million young people in the summer of 2022 and added that the "more than probable" place for the conclusive events of WYD 2022 will be the margin north of the Tagus river, next to the Sea of Palha, in Lisbon, and that evokes the Sea of Galilee where Jesus walked.[7]

The Holy See announced on 20 April 2020 that the event would be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[1] It was rescheduled for 1–6 August 2023.[8]

Although the main event took place next to the Parque do Tejo in Lisbon,[9] with new infrastructures built under the coordination of architect António Maria Braga,[10] there were also expected pilgrimages from the participating youth to the National Sanctuary of Christ the King, in Almada, to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima, in Cova da Iria, and also to the birthplace of Saint Anthony of Lisbon (or Padua).[needs update]

Some unwelcome revelations for the Church of Portugal arose ahead of the World Youth Day celebration, including sanctions against and investigations into bishops affiliated with Portugal.[11]

Patrons and intercessors

The patrons of the World Youth Day 2023 are Catholic figures who,[12][13] in their youth,[14] took decisive steps on the path to holiness:[15][16]

And the blessed:

Additionally, the official website of the WYD mentioned the Blessed Virgin Mary as the "patroness par excellence" of the event.[17]


The sculpture number 1 of the Pilgrim Virgin of Fatima traveled, in the early hours of 21 January 2019, to Panama[18] to be present at the World Youth Day 2019, evoking the memory of the Marian imprint that Pope John Paul II wished to print at the creation of these great Catholic religious events. Continuing this spirit, at the World Youth Day 2023 the young people will be especially invited to pray and to deepen the main devotion recommended in the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the Cova da Iria, in Fatima, in particular the prayer of the Holy Rosary.


On 22 June 2019, Pope Francis announced that the theme of the event would be "Mary arose and went with haste" (Luke 1:39).[19] This Bible verse also takes into account the start of her visitation with her cousin Elizabeth.[20] The pope also called on Catholics to prepare for the 2023 World Youth Day by meditating on two scriptural passages: Luke 7:14, "Young man, I say to you, Arise!"; and a re-working of Acts 26:16, "Stand up. I appoint you as a witness of what you have seen".[19]


A number of activities occurred throughout the World Youth Day. The "City of Joy" was the term given to the combined area containing the Vocations Fair (for learning about religious orders and other organizations) and the Park of Forgiveness (for receiving the Sacrament of Penance).[21] "Rise Up Encounters" included activities allowing pilgrims to reflect on Pope Francis' themes of Integral Ecology, Social Friendship and Mercy.[22][21] Interreligious events provided guided visits to a Muslim mosque, Hindu temple, Jewish synagogue, and three historic Catholic churches.[23]


On July 25, Pope Francis spoke on a podcast, dubbed the "Popecast", in which he addressed prepared questions from youth, ending with an encouragement for youth around the world to take part in World Youth Day, saying that they would find it fulfilling, with its community, celebration, hope, and joy.[24]

On July 27, all event volunteers participated in the "Missionary Gesture" to share World Youth Day with the most vulnerable. Over 600 institutions, such as hospitals and prisons, were visited.[25][26]

1 August

The Pope Francis in Lisbon participating at the WYD 2023

The event was officially opened on August 1 with an open-air Mass celebrated by Manuel Clemente in Eduardo VII Park, with an estimated 180,000-310,000 people present.[27]

2 August

Pope Francis arrived in Portugal to attend the event for a five day period.[28][29]

3 August

4 August

A "Catholic Influencers Festival" for social media influencers was hosted by the Vatican's Dicastery for Communication, advertisd as "the 1st world in-person meeting of digital missionaries".[30][31]

Pope Francis personally heard the confessions of three young people.[32] In the evening, the pontiff led the Stations of the Cross in Edward VII Park. Rather than traveling to the different stations, he was led out onto the stage in a wheelchair and watched as a performance troupe choreographed each of the 14 stations. An estimated 800,000 young people attended.[33]

5 August

Pope Francis visited Fátima in the morning. In his remarks, he called for the Blessed Virgin Mary to be given the new title "Our Lady in a Hurry", relating to the theme of World Youth Day and describing how Mary hastens to care fo rher children.[34] A 16-year-old girl Spanish World Youth Day pilgrim named Jimena who visited Fátima on the same day was reported to have miraculously recovered from 95% vision loss during mass at the site.[35]

In the afternoon, over 1.5 million pilgrims walked to Parque Tejo in near 100-degree 100 °F (38 °C) heat in preparation for an evening vigil featuring Eucharistic adoration, presided by Pope Francis. The pontiff decided not to use his prepared remarks during his speech where he called the young people in attendance to be "joyous missionaries".[3]

6 August

Pope Francis celebrated mass on Sunday morning, with an estimated 1.5 million people in attendance. Following the mass, Pope Francis announced that World Youth Day 2027 would be held in Seoul, South Korea. In addition, a special event for young people would be held in Rome in 2025 to coincide with the Jubilee Year. Pope Francis concluded with a special prayer for Ukraine (due to the Russo-Ukrainian War) and said that he possesses a "dream of peace, the dream of young people praying for peace, living in peace and building a peaceful future."[3][36]


Limited edition Portuguese coin made for the WYD 2023

The WYD symbol was created by Portuguese designer Beatriz Roque Nunes (then 24 years old), who had studied in London and at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Lisbon. The logotype was unveiled on October 16, 2020.[37] The central element of the logo, the Cross of Christ, clearly symbolizes the Christian religion, "God's infinite love for humankind". The color palette chosen —red, yellow and green— represents the flag of Portugal. In white, dividing the cross in half, a path is evoked, not only that which Mary travels "to live the will of God", but also that traversed by young people seeking their "renewal of inner strength, their dreams, the enthusiasm, the hope and the gratitude" (Christus Vivit, 20). A dynamic-looking yellow touch also symbolizes the Holy Spirit, and above it is a rosary celebrating the Portuguese devotion to Our Lady of Fatima, to which many go on pilgrimage. Finally, the profile of Mary as a young woman, as depicted in the Gospel of Luke (Lk 1:39), stands out.[38]

Official theme song

With lyrics by Father Paulo Vaz and music by Pedro Ferreira, both from the Diocese of Coimbra, the official hymn "There's a Rush in the Air" was released on January 27, 2023. The lyrics are based on the verse "Mary arose and ran with haste" (Lk 1:39), thus portraying Mary's "yes" and her haste to go and meet her cousin Elizabeth, as the biblical passage relates. The official theme was recorded in two versions: Portuguese and international, the latter containing similar versions of the stanza sung in Portuguese, English, French, Spanish and Italian.

See also


  1. ^ a b "Declaration of the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Bruni". Holy See Press Office. Holy See. April 20, 2020. Retrieved April 20, 2020.
  2. ^ "New record at World Youth Day Lisbon 2023: Number of nations". Aleteia. August 1, 2023. Archived from the original on September 11, 2023. Retrieved October 2, 2023.
  3. ^ a b c White, Christopher (August 6, 2023). "Pope Francis to 1.5 million youth in Portugal: Be 'beacons of hope in dark times'". National Catholic Reporter. Retrieved October 2, 2023.
  4. ^ "World Youth Days of 2022 will take place in Portugal". Portugal News, luis felipe. December 2, 2018. Retrieved January 27, 2019.
  5. ^ "World Youth Day 2022 will be in Portugal". The Catholic Register (Catholic News Service). January 27, 2019. Retrieved January 27, 2019.
  6. ^ "Portugal to host World Youth Day 2022". Aleteia (English Edition). January 27, 2019. Retrieved January 27, 2019.
  7. ^ "Pope Francis: Lisbon hosting World Youth Day 2022 – Portugal". Portuguese American Journal. January 31, 2019. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
  8. ^ "Ya es oficial: Estas son las fechas de la JMJ Lisboa 2023" (in Spanish). Aciprensa. October 3, 2021. Retrieved October 3, 2021.
  9. ^ "Catholic Church confirms Lisbon to host next World Youth Day in 2022". The Portugal News. January 28, 2019. Retrieved January 28, 2019.
  10. ^ "Despacho n.º 11401/2021, de 19 de novembro". Retrieved August 13, 2023.
  11. ^ Hatton, Barry (October 5, 2022). "Abuse cases mount amid questions over bishop". Anderson Independent-Mail. p. A15. Retrieved March 26, 2023.
  12. ^ Caminada, Thiago (December 16, 2019). "JMJ Portugal 2023: What is already known about the next Day?". Olhar Vaticano (in Brazilian Portuguese). Retrieved August 27, 2023.
  13. ^ "The Patrons of the WYD on the commemorative medal of Lisbon 2023 - Vatican News". (in Spanish). August 3, 2023. Retrieved October 10, 2023.
  14. ^ Wilhelm Schamoni; Young and Holy. Edições Boa Nova (Requião).
  15. ^ "Patrons - WYD Lisbon 2023". WYD 2023. September 19, 2022. Retrieved August 27, 2023.
  16. ^ "Meet the Patrons of WYD Lisbon 2023". WYD 2023. May 18, 2022. Retrieved August 27, 2023.
  17. ^
  18. ^ "Portugal to host next World Youth Day". Crux Catholic Media. January 27, 2019. Archived from the original on January 27, 2019. Retrieved January 27, 2019.
  19. ^ a b "Pope to youths: The Church needs you so she can be fully herself - Vatican News". June 22, 2019.
  20. ^ "Pope Francis announces Marian theme of World Youth Day 2022 in Lisbon".
  21. ^ a b "What's new at World Youth Day Lisbon 2023". JMJ 2023. August 22, 2023. Archived from the original on October 3, 2023. Retrieved October 3, 2023.
  22. ^ Brockhaus, Hannah (August 5, 2023). "New World Youth Day 'Rise Up' catechesis receives mixed reviews". Catholic News Agency. Retrieved October 3, 2023.
  23. ^ Brockhaus, Hannah (August 10, 2023). "Interreligious events at World Youth Day in Lisbon sparsely attended but 'useful'". Catholic News Agency. Archived from the original on August 11, 2023. Retrieved October 3, 2023.
  24. ^ Bukuras, Joe. "Pope Francis speaks to young people in 'Popecast'". Catholic News Agency. Retrieved October 3, 2023.
  25. ^ "Volunteers take on the mission of WYD". JMJ 2023. July 26, 2023. Archived from the original on October 3, 2023. Retrieved October 3, 2023.
  26. ^ "Missionary Gesture promotes encounter with the other". JMJ 2023. July 28, 2023. Archived from the original on October 3, 2023. Retrieved October 3, 2023.
  27. ^ FM, Cidade. "JMJ: Entre 180 e 310 mil pessoas participaram na missa de abertura do evento". Cidade FM (in Portuguese). Retrieved August 3, 2023.
  28. ^ Castellano Lubov, Debroarh (August 2, 2023). "Pope Francis arrives in Portugal for World Youth Day". Vatican News. Retrieved August 2, 2023.
  29. ^ "Pope Francis arrives in Portugal to preside over global youth event". Reuters. August 2, 2023. Retrieved August 2, 2023.
  30. ^ Bordoni, Linda (July 7, 2023). "Digital evangelisers to gather in-person at WYD". Vatican News. Archived from the original on July 8, 2023. Retrieved October 3, 2023.
  31. ^ "Catholic Influencers Festival in WYD Lisbon 2023". Catholic Influencers Festival. Archived from the original on October 3, 2023. Retrieved October 3, 2023.
  32. ^ McKeown, Jonah. "Pope Francis hears young people's confessions in Lisbon". Catholic News Agency. Retrieved October 3, 2023.
  33. ^ Mares, Courtney. "Pope Francis at WYD Stations of the Cross: Jesus walks with us". Catholic News Agency. Retrieved October 3, 2023.
  34. ^ McLellan, Justin. "Pope calls for new Marian devotion at Fátima: 'Our Lady in a Hurry'". Retrieved October 3, 2023.
  35. ^ Martínez-Bordiú, Almudena. "Miracle at Fátima? World Youth Day pilgrim receives her sight after Communion at Mass". Catholic News Agency. Retrieved October 3, 2023.
  36. ^ Brockhaus, Hannah (August 6, 2023). "'Be not afraid,' Pope Francis tells young people at end of World Youth Day". Catholic News Agency. Retrieved October 2, 2023.
  37. ^ Renascença (October 16, 2020). "Logótipo da Jornada Mundial da Juventude 2023 criado por jovem portuguesa - Renascença". Retrieved August 6, 2023.
  38. ^ "Logo - WYD Lisbon 2023". JMJ 2023. September 19, 2022. Retrieved August 6, 2023.