“It is with great joy that the Salesians of Don Bosco, and the rest of the Salesian Family in Portugal and Cape Verde, have received the news of the choice of St John Bosco as the patron of World Youth Day 2023. It is truly wonderful that the world’s greatest youth event can count on this special intercession of the “Father and Teacher of Youth”, our founder.
Even though today’s youth society is quite different from the one St John Bosco encountered on the streets of Turin in the 19th century, many of his educational and pastoral intuitions are quite current. The accompaniment of the poorest and most vulnerable young people, the ability to make proposals that reach everyone, the audacity to touch the “little rope of good that everyone has in their heart”, the tenacity to make himself a companion on the journey, to help young people grow, but also to promote youth protagonism at the right time are profoundly marked characteristics of our charism and are necessary in today’s society.
St John Bosco never imagined a gathering of young people of the magnitude of World Youth Day, but if he had known of its existence, he would certainly have been one of the first to mobilise the participation of all, with the creativity and daring characteristic of the young people he accompanied. I hope that the Salesian Youth Movement can be a true leaven in the midst of the dough, gathering its members for an active participation in WYD Lisbon 2023.
May this World Youth Day that we will experience in Portugal, under the protection of Our Lady, of St. John Paul II and of St. John Bosco, awaken in more and more young people the urgency to stand up, to announce Christ to others and to be witnesses among their friends.
João Xavier Fialho
Coordinator of WYD DON BOSCO 2023