The Pilgrim Cross and the icon of Our Lady Salus Populi Romani, symbols of World Youth Day, were welcomed with great joy on January 27th in the house of the daughters of Mary Help of Christians in Viana do Castelo.
The reception of the symbols at the Externato S. João Bosco was prepared by the educating community, embellishing not only the exterior space but notably the inside of each one. At around 2:00 pm, all the students, Sisters, teachers, assistants, and some relatives of the students gathered to welcome the symbols with great enthusiasm, singing the hymn of WYD Lisbon 2023 and waving green, red, and yellow ribbons, the colours of the flag of our country and the logo of this edition of WYD.
After this moment of jubilation, Sr. Maria João Garcia, FMA, addressed a few words, highlighting the importance of the pilgrimage of the WYD symbols.
The students of the 4th grade prepared a homage to St. John Bosco, one of the patron saints of WYD, by recreating the moment Don Bosco met Bartholomew Garelli and thus began his great work.
One of the legacies left by the holy founder of the Salesian Congregation and the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians was the Marian devotion. As inheritors of this gift, while not forgetting the role of Mary as a presence together with the young people at WYD, the students of the 4th grade presented everyone with a little dance to the sound of the song “Ave Maria Gratia Plena”.
Those present had the opportunity to take a picture with the symbols so that this very special moment could be registered. The entire educational community said goodbye to the symbols to the sound of the school’s hymn, sung by the students.
It was a moment that will be forever etched in the hearts of all who were present, as well as the gratitude for the unique opportunity that God gave to be in front of these two symbols entrusted by Pope John Paul II to the youth of the world, and that represents Christ’s love for humanity.