On Monday 31 July, 40 buses departed from the different Salesian houses in Spain full of pilgrims to their places of residence for the entire week of World Youth Day. Despite having to get up early, the journey was an opportunity to sing, pray, get to know each other and also to rest.
The 2200 young people from the Salesian Youth Movement (SYM) of Spain are already in Lisbon to take part in World Youth Day (WYD) organised by Pope Francis. On Monday 31 July, 40 buses took them from the different Salesian houses in Spain to their places of residence for the whole week. Despite having to get up early, the journey was an opportunity to sing, pray, get to know each other and also to rest.
The Spanish MJS group will be staying in Estoril and Cascais. From there, they will travel to Lisbon to participate in the WYD events. The participants from Andalusia, Extremadura and the Canary Islands are staying at the Salesian Sisters in Estoril. The young people from Aragon, Catalonia, Valencia, Murcia and Pamplona will stay at the Salesian Sisters in Cascais. Finally, the young pilgrims from Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria, the Basque Country, La Rioja, Castile-León, Madrid and Castile-La Mancha will stay overnight at the centre of the Amor de Dios nuns in Cascais.
On arrival at the accommodation, the young people, accompanied by animators and a good group of Salesians, were welcomed by Portuguese volunteers who gave them the pilgrim’s kit, credentials and all the necessary material for these days.
“We are next door neighbours”
And in Estoril, in the Casino gardens, right next to the Salesian school, one of the first events of this WYD Lisbon 2023 took place. The Spanish Episcopal Conference (CEE) organised a meeting, lasting about seven hours, for all Spanish pilgrims. Around 40,000 young people from 67 dioceses, 11 ecclesial movements and 32 religious congregations gathered to celebrate the Eucharist and then enjoy a music festival “Caminos de Juventud”, which started at 9pm and featured several Spanish artists.
All the young people wore a T-shirt with the slogan “We are next door neighbours” as a way of greeting young Spaniards in Portugal. At the Mass, Cardinal Omella, president of the EEC, explained to the young people that “evangelising is showing the face, the person, the message of Jesus, the Son of God: truth, way and life for men and women of all times. And for this the Lord is counting on you, on you and on me”. How can this be done? For the Archbishop of Barcelona, “words” and “works” are fundamental: “Above all, works of charity, of dedication to the poorest and most needy. In need of material, cultural and spiritual goods”.
The Rector Major and Mother General in Lisbon
Around 9,000 young people from the Salesian Youth Movement from all over the world are expected to participate in WYD Lisbon 2023. The Rector Major of the Salesians and Cardinal-elect, Ángel Fernández Artime, is already in Lisbon to accompany the young people, as is Mother Chiara Cazzuola, Superior General of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians. Both will meet with the young people of the Salesian houses at Salesianos Estoril on Wednesday 2 August.