The Days in the Dioceses are already taking place all over the country and there are many pilgrims spread across 17 dioceses in mainland Portugal and the islands. Many of the pilgrims have been welcomed into host families.
Clara and João Paulo met in the youth group of which they were members. It was in youth ministry settings that they grew in friendship and, later, in love.
Today they have two children, Carolina, 15, and Tiago, 9. They attend the Moreira da Maia Parish, Diocese of Porto, and it was at the end of the Sunday Eucharist that they heard the call to welcome pilgrims from World Youth Day.
“And why not?”, they thought. They spoke to their children who were even more enthusiastic about the idea of meeting new people.
Since the 26th they have welcomed two Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Sister Fernando Chimène Matsimouna from Tunisia and Sister Isabelle Batantou from Belgium. Both are part of the group from the Salesian Province of France-Belgium that is participating in the Days in the Dioceses.
Deciding in which language they would communicate was the first challenge they had to face. “The sisters speak French and Italian. Italian, here at home nobody speaks. Carolina has had French since the 7th grade, which was a help for the first conversations”, explains Clara. “Then we discovered an app that helps us translate at the same time and it’s been much easier and more fun,” adds Tiago.
To welcome the pilgrims, the family had to reorganize, but the initiative “came from the kids. They were the ones who wanted to change the room so that the pilgrims would be as comfortable as possible. Seeing the dedicated way I see them thinking about the well-being of the other is, in my opinion, the most beautiful thing about being a host family”, João Paulo shares.
In addition to breakfast each morning, the family also shares dinner and participation in the activities that the parish promotes each night.
“The farewell will certainly be emotional”, Clara confesses, “because we all quickly feel like one family”. “We will keep in touch. With WhatsApp we will be able to talk whenever we want and maybe we can even meet again in Belgium or Tunisia”, says Carolina.