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Feature News | Monday, July 31, 2023

World Youth Day: so close to the pope!

Miami pilgrims get close-up view of Pope Francis

Photos added to the slide show, Aug. 9, featuring Miami group on their last day in Portugal, Aug. 7, 2023.

Photos added to slide show Aug. 7, featuring Miami group walking to papal welcoming reception, celebrating Mass with Auxiliary Bishop Enrique Delgado and waiting at Campo da Graca for evening vigil and concluding Mass with Pope Francis

Photos added to slide show Aug. 5, featuring another morning catechesis and the group from St. Kieran Parish, Miami. Click here to see video of Pope Francis passing by the Miami delegation.

Previous post, Aug. 3: World Youth Day: first day catechesis and Mass; Miami delegation also visits more Lisbon sites. 

Photos added to slide show, Aug. 2: featuring group's activities in Lisbon Aug. 1 and 2 

Previous post Aug. 1: Miami pilgrims visit Fatima: WYD delegation walks the streets, visit home where visionaries lived, celebrate Mass

Previous post July 31: Miami pilgrims land in Lisbon: 55-member delegation visits cathedral, St. Anthony birthplace prior to World Youth Day festivities

MIAMI | Miami's World Youth Day pilgrims landed in Lisbon July 30, 2023, after making a pitstop at Madrid's Barajas airport where they celebrated Sunday Mass.


Miami Auxiliary Bishop Enrique Delgado is accompanying a delegation consisting of 55 pilgrims from St. Thomas University; Cardinal Gibbons High School; and the parishes of St. John Neumann, Notre Dame d’Haiti, St. Mark, St. Thomas the Apostle and St. Louis.

Also going though separately: about 360 members of the Neocatechumenal Way from 13 local parishes – St. Lawrence, St. Kieran, St. Katharine Drexel, St. John Bosco, St. Joachim, St. James, St. Cecilia, St. Boniface, St. Bernard, Our Lady Queen of Martyrs, Mother of Christ, Our Lady of Lourdes and Good Shepherd – accompanied by seven priests and a good number of adult chaperones.

Radio Paz 830AM/96.1FM is also reporting from Lisbon.

We will be updating the photo album above as the pilgrims continue to send us photographs of their daily activities. 

Readers also can follow the Miami delegation on several Instagram sites: @catholicmiami; @fathercapo; @fr_matt90mez; @radiopaz830am.

WYD updates from OSV News

Posted Aug. 8, 20223

On flight to Rome, pope responds to questions about abuse, his health

ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT FROM PORTUGAL (CNS) | After a five-day trip to Portugal, which recently came to terms with its own clerical sex abuse crisis, Pope Francis said the Catholic Church must abandon its practice of covering up abuse and instead be "very open" about how it is confronting the crime. During a news conference on the pope's return flight to Rome from Lisbon, Portugal, Aug. 6, the pope said bishops who have not adopted a "zero tolerance" policy toward abuse need to "take charge of that irresponsibility." Pope Francis had met privately with abuse survivors for more than an hour Aug. 2 during his stay in Lisbon for World Youth Day; he told reporters they "dialogued about this plague" of abuse. "The church used to follow the conduct that is followed in families and neighborhoods: it covers up," he said, adding that addressing abuse must take in those places, too. Speaking directly with abuse survivors, as he has done on several of his international trips, is "good for me, not because I like to listen to it but because it helps me take charge of that tragedy," he said.

Don't be afraid to change the world, pope tells youths at WYD closing Mass   

LISBON, Portugal (CNS) | To end "Catholic Woodstock" — as World Youth Day has been called by the Portuguese press — Pope Francis told 1.5 million weary-eyed and sleep-deprived young people in Lisbon not to let their "great dreams" of changing the world be "stopped by fear." In his homily for the closing Mass of World Youth Day Aug. 6, the pope asked for "a bit of silence" from the pilgrims who, after staying overnight in Lisbon's Tejo Park following the previous night's vigil, at 6 a.m. were already dancing to techno music mixed by a DJ priest before the pope's arrival. "Let's all repeat this phrase in our hearts: 'Don't be afraid,'" he told the hushed crowd. "Jesus knows the hearts of each one of you, the successes and the failures, he knows your hearts," Pope Francis said. "And today he tells you, here in Lisbon for this World Youth Day: 'Don't be afraid.'"

'Do you cry?' pope asks 800,000 young people at WYD; so does Jesus, he says

LISBON, Portugal (CNS) | When feelings of suffering, anxiety and loneliness bring young people to tears, Jesus cries with them and walks alongside them on the way of the cross, Pope Francis said. After hundreds of thousands of young people spent hours singing, dancing and chanting under the sun waiting for the pope to arrive in Lisbon's Eduardo VII Park to pray the Stations of the Cross Aug. 4, the pope asked them to be silent. "I'll ask a question, but don't answer out loud," he said. "Do I cry from time to time? Are there things in life that make me cry? All of us in life have cried, and we cry still. And there is Jesus with us, he cries with us, because he accompanies us in the darkness that leads us to tears," he continued. "I'm going to be silent for a bit and everyone tell God what in your life makes you cry." While many in the crowd did not understand the pope's Spanish, the 800,000 people gathered in Lisbon's central park fell into silence for 10 seconds at the pope's request.

'Rise up' to pursue joy, even when you're tired, pope says at WYD vigil

LISBON, Portugal (CNS) | After many of the 1.5 million young people gathered in Lisbon's Tejo Park waited for hours in near 100-degree weather to participate in the World Youth Day vigil with Pope Francis Aug. 5, the pope asked them, "Have you ever been tired?" Even when tempted to "throw in the towel" or stop along the journey of life, the pope said, the young people must pick themselves up and walk toward joy. "Joy is not hidden, it's not kept under key, we have to look for it," he said, "and that is tiring." Yet, Pope Francis urged them to "rise up" when they fall along the path toward joy. Before the pope's improvised speech, synchronized drones flew over the massive crowd, which extended across both banks of Lisbon's Trancão River, forming messages that read "Rise Up" and "Follow Me" in different languages.

Pope calls for new Marian devotion at Fátima: 'Our Lady in a Hurry'

FÁTIMA, Portugal (CNS) | Before 200,000 pilgrims at Fátima, many of them with tears in their eyes, Pope Francis called for a new Marian devotional title -- "Our Lady in a Hurry" -- to describe how Mary hastens to care for all her children. "There are many Marian invocations," told the crowd at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fátima Aug. 5, but one that is not common and should be comes from the biblical account of the visitation when Mary sets off to see her cousin who also is pregnant. "It's a loose translation, but where the Gospel says she set out 'in haste,' we would say she went out running," he said; "she went out running with that eagerness to be present." "'Our Lady in a Hurry,' do you like that?" Pope Francis asked his fellow pilgrims. "Let's all say it together: 'Our Lady in a Hurry.' She hurries to be close to us. She hurries because she is a mother."  

Posted Aug. 5, 2023 

'Do you cry?' pope asks 800,000 young people at WYD; so does Jesus, he says

LISBON, Portugal (CNS) | When feelings of suffering, anxiety and loneliness bring young people to tears, Jesus cries with them and walks alongside them on the way of the cross, Pope Francis said. After hundreds of thousands of young people spent hours singing, dancing and chanting under the sun waiting for the pope to arrive in Lisbon's Eduardo VII Park to pray the Stations of the Cross Aug. 4, the pope asked them to be silent. "I'll ask a question, but don't answer out loud," he said. "Do I cry from time to time? Are there things in life that make me cry? All of us in life have cried, and we cry still. And there is Jesus with us, he cries with us, because he accompanies us in the darkness that leads us to tears," he continued. "I'm going to be silent for a bit and everyone tell God what in your life makes you cry." While many in the crowd did not understand the pope's Spanish, the 800,000 people gathered in Lisbon's central park fell into silence for 10 seconds at the pope's request.

Pope Francis' welcoming comments touch hearts of pilgrims

LISBON, Portugal (OSV News) | Rivers of young people flowed through the streets of Lisbon on their way to Eduardo VII Park on Aug. 3 for the World Youth Day welcome ceremony with Pope Francis. For 34-year-old Ines Niragira, coming to World Youth Day in Lisbon fulfilled a dream. Originally from Burundi, but now living and working in South Africa, Niragira said she had always wanted to attend World Youth Day, and that she loved listening to Pope Francis' opening remarks with a half-million other pilgrims. Seated in his popemobile, Pope Francis greeted throngs of cheering youth, many waving flags, signs and rosaries, or snapping photos as the pontiff made his way to the stage to give his address. "Dear friends, if God calls you by name, it means that for him you are not a number, but a face," Pope Francis said. As a first-time attendee of World Youth Day , Niragira felt as though the pope was speaking directly to her, and that she was no longer a number in a society defined by algorithms and endless social media feeds. "In this digital era, we feel like we know everyone from just a search. On our social media we create a 'persona' for ourselves that is led by algorithms," she said. "But, like Pope Francis said, God knows each and every one of us as an individual. We should know each other not from the way we search online, but in the way that God knows each of us."

Pope hears young people's confessions in WYD 'Reconciliation Park'

LISBON, Portugal (CNS) | Young people were going to confession on street corners and park benches throughout Lisbon during World Youth Day, but in the 150 plywood confessionals set up in Vasco da Gama Garden three of them found themselves face to face with Pope Francis. Donning a purple stole, the pope heard their confessions Aug. 4 in the riverside garden, which has been converted into "Reconciliation Park" and lined with white confessionals built by inmates from three Portuguese prisons. While a confessional with a white chair bearing the papal insignia and visible to the press had been set up, Pope Francis opted for one of the regular, more private, confessionals instead. The pope sat across from Francisco, 21, from Spain, followed by Yesvi, 33, from Guatemala and Samuel, 19, from Italy. The three confessions lasted some 10 minutes all together before Pope Francis left the area in a wheelchair and waving to the crowd gathered nearby. 

Pope talks abortion, euthanasia at lunch with WYD pilgrims

LISBON, Portugal (CNS) | Over a three-course meal with young people, Pope Francis cracked jokes and talked soccer but also addressed the tough topics that young Catholics are grappling with today, such as abortion and euthanasia. "I expected to be more nervous, but it was all very calm," Joana Maria Fialho de Andrade, 24, told Catholic News Service after eating lunch with the pope at the Vatican nunciature in Lisbon Aug. 4. "We all felt at home, very welcome." The Portuguese woman was one of 10 young people from various different countries — including a 17-year-old from the United States — who joined Pope Francis for lunch along with Cardinal Manuel do Nascimento Clemente of Lisbon and Cardinal-designate Américo Aguiar, an auxiliary bishop of Lisbon and executive secretary of the local organizing committee for World Youth Day 2023. She said she was struck by the pope's comments on coherence. "It's important to be coherent, for us to be firm in our faith and to bring this faith into all parts of our life," she said. "Some of us asked for advice on how young people today can face some issues that are difficult, that are very talked about — we talked about euthanasia, abortion," Clara Yacolca Farfan, 24 from Peru told CNS. In response, she said, the pope told them to "defend life."

Citing vision problems, pope puts aside text, says love must be concrete

LISBON, Portugal (CNS) | Saying his glasses "aren't working," Pope Francis put aside his prepared text and told representatives of Portuguese charities to make their love "concrete" and leave a mark on the world with their lives. "There are many things I want to tell you now," Pope Francis said with a smile at a parish in the Serafina neighborhood on the outskirts of Lisbon Aug. 4, but "I can't read well" and don't want to "strain the vision and read poorly." So, he said, "I just want to say something that is not written but is in the spirit of this (text): the concrete. There is no abstract love, it doesn't exist," the pope said. "Concrete love is that which gets its hands dirty." Pope Francis urged the charity workers to ask themselves, "The love that I feel, is it concrete or abstract?" and posed another question while vigorously rubbing his hand against his cassock: "When I shake the hand of someone in need, a sick person, a marginalized person, do I do this right after, so they don't infect me? Am I disgusted by poverty?"

Pope to young people at WYD: God calls your authentic, not virtual, self

LISBON, Portugal (CNS) | Before a sea of waving flags representing countries large and small from across the globe, Pope Francis told some 500,000 singing, shouting and swaying young people that God has called each person to him by name, not their social media handle. "You are not here by mistake," he told the mass of people in Lisbon's Eduardo VII Park Aug. 3 for the welcome ceremony for World Youth Day. "You, you, you, over there, all of us, me, we were all called by our names." While social networks know young people's names, tastes and preferences, "all this does not understand your uniqueness, but rather your usefulness for market research," he said at his first World Youth Day event. The "illusions" of the virtual world "attract us and promise happiness" but later show themselves to be "vain, superfluous things, substitutes that leave us empty inside," the pope said. "I'll tell you something, Jesus is not like that; he believes in you, in each one of you and us, because to him each one of us is important, and that is Jesus."

Posted Aug. 3, 2023

American youth join bishops for National Gathering at World Youth Day

LISBON, Portugal (OSV News) | On the evening of Aug. 2, tens of thousands of U.S. pilgrims gathered in Quintas das Conchas e dos Lilases Park in Lisbon, greeted by U.S. bishops lined up on the stage introducing their dioceses. Bishop Robert Barron of Winona-Rochester gave a keynote address to American youth. "Let Christ come to life in you, set your heart on fire and then you'll know who you are," he said. "Through your mission, you will find joy and transfigure the world." "The Gospel says when you hear about the Lord Jesus Christ, and he takes possession of your heart, you know who you are," Bishop Barron said. Edgar Mondragón, a young teacher from the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, said that what he would like to bring home from WYD in Lisbon "is to be able to just pour out what I receive here onto the people I work with, my friends, my family, my students." "It's in giving that you receive. So just be able to give them the love, show them the light of Christ," he said.

Don't close yourself off from crisis, pope tells Portuguese students

LISBON, Portugal (CNS) | Meeting in a makeshift "Sistine Chapel" painted floor-to ceiling by students, Pope Francis, paintbrush in hand, left a mark on the hearts of young people by telling them not to shy away from the personal crises that come with a life of faith. "A life without crises is like distilled water, it doesn't taste of anything," he told students gathered at the center of the Scholas Occurrentes educational initiative in Cascais, a town some 20 miles outside of Lisbon. The pope responded to questions posed by young people from different countries and faith backgrounds in an intimate setting with some 50 people, including Paolo, a 24-year-old Brazilian evangelical who asked the pope for advice on navigating life's hardships. "I don't want to be a catechist," the pope joked in response before explaining the Bible's creation story, which he said showed how God created the cosmos from chaos. "That's the journey of each person," he said, "a life that stays in the chaotic fails, and the life that never felt chaos is distilled — everything is perfect — and distilled lives don't give life."

In Portugal for WYD, pope urges Europe to recover its 'youthful heart'

LISBON, Portugal (CNS) | Arriving at the edge of the European continent for World Youth Day, Pope Francis urged Portuguese officials to return to their maritime roots by setting sail toward new horizons of hope and helping build a Europe "capable of recovering its youthful heart." "It is my hope that World Youth Day may be, for the 'Old Continent,' we can say the elderly continent" — he ad-libbed with a smile — "an impulse toward universal openness." At a meeting at the Belém Cultural Center in Lisbon shortly after his arrival in the Portuguese capital Aug. 2, the pope addressed Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, other government and political leaders, diplomats and representatives of civil society. In the face of injustice, wars and the climate and migration crises, he said, the world "needs Europe's role as a bridge and peacemaker." The pope fought through coughs at the beginning of his speech but otherwise appeared in good health. And on the flight to Portugal, he walked up and down the aisle of the plane to greet journalists rather than remaining seated, as he has done on some occasions. Before leaving his residence, the pope kicked off the 42nd international trip of his pontificate by meeting with a group of young people from a rehabilitation facility unable to travel to World Youth Day and with three pairs of grandparents with their grandchildren.

Awaken the 'weary' church by becoming 'restless,' pope says in Portugal

LISBON, Portugal (CNS) | A Catholic Church that has grown weary in countries shaken by the clerical sexual abuse crisis and cultural trends toward secularism must look anew to Jesus to revive their "restless" enthusiasm for sharing the Gospel, Pope Francis said. "Now is the God-given time of grace to sail boldly into the sea of evangelization and of mission," the pope told Portuguese bishops, priests, religious and pastoral workers after praying vespers at the Jerónimos Monastery in Lisbon Aug. 2, the first day of his trip to Portugal. Using a wheelchair, the pope entered the 16th-century monastery to great applause, and the cheers that erupted when he stood to greet those present resembled those echoing from the pop concert taking place across the street for World Youth Day. In his homily, the pope reflected on the passage from St. Luke's Gospel in which Jesus gets into the disciples' fishing boat and invites them to let their nets down in deep water for a catch. Just as those fishermen didn't catch anything before Jesus' arrival, "there are moments in our ecclesial journey when we can feel a similar weariness — weariness — when we seem to be holding only empty nets," he said, noting how such a situation is common in countries with a long-standing Christian tradition but are now experiencing a "growing detachment from the practice of the faith."

Lisbon basks in joy as World Youth Day opens

LISBON, Portugal (OSV News) | Joyful, singing crowds were walking through Lisbon long after the opening Mass of World Youth Day 2023, celebrated by Cardinal Manuel Clemente, patriarch of Lisbon, was over Aug. 1. The atmosphere surprised even those that lived in the Portuguese capital throughout their lives. "All those people are now on the streets, it's really exhilarating! I don't think it will happen in my lifetime again that so many pilgrims come to my city!" Concha Sousa, a Portuguese volunteer of WYD, told OSV News. Youth from all countries of the world have arrived in Lisbon for the event, including over 1,300 groups comprised of more than 28,600 individuals from across the United States. Joseph Vo, a pilgrim from San Jose, loved the Lisbon encounter from the first sight. "It's been fantastic," he told OSV News. "There is plenty of time to pray and encounter God directly. Also it's just a really beautiful opportunity to talk and engage and meet other young people." "It feels like we're all family members that haven't seen each other for a long time," Vo said.

Comments from readers

Fr. Matthew Gomez - 08/09/2023 02:59 PM
Thank you for your prayers while we were on the pilgrimage. Know that the prayers of the whole Archdiocese were thought of at Mass and the many miles walked along the hills of Lisbon. The pictures are wonderful memories of the experiences lived, but the pictures don't do it justice! To see the amount of young people on fire for their faith builds up our own faith. This was the first WYD I attend as a priest and to be at Mass, concelebrating with 10,000 priests from around the world it made me fall deeper in love with the vocation that God has called me to. If you have never been to WYD, consider going, I am already preparing for Seoul in 2027.

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