The pilgrimage of the symbols of World Youth Day will conclude with their arrival in the Diocese of Lisbon on July 1. The Pilgrim Cross and the icon of Our Lady Salus Populi Romani are true heralds of the Gospel and have accompanied the young people in the 21 Dioceses of Portugal.
World Youth Day has two symbols that accompany and represent it: the Pilgrim Cross and the icon of Our Lady Salus Populi Romani. In the months preceding each WYD, the symbols leave on pilgrimage to proclaim the Gospel and accompany young people, in a special way, in the realities in which they live.
On November 22, 2020, during the Mass of the Solemnity of Christ the King, which was presided by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, a delegation of young people from Portugal received the symbols of World Youth Day from the youth of Panama – the city that hosted the last WYD.
The Pilgrim Cross and the icon of Our Lady have been on pilgrimage through 21 Portuguese dioceses since November 2012, after having passed through some Portuguese-speaking African countries.
For Father Filipe Diniz, the director of the National Department of Youth Ministry and responsible for the pilgrimage of the WYD symbols through the dioceses of Portugal, this moment has been “fantastic” because the symbols have passed through “different contexts”, and have “touched many people”. “Jesus touched the one most in need, the one who was marginalized. Jesus goes out to meet this one, so the symbols go out to meet and disturb, they have to touch”, concluded the priest.
End of Pilgrimage
On July 1, the symbols will arrive at the Diocese of Lisbon, thus marking the end of this pilgrimage.
From north to south, they will pass through the entire diocese, during 23 intense days, right on the doorstep of the start of World Youth Day Lisbon 2023. Places like Alcobaça, Arruda dos Vinhos, Nazaré, Caldas da Rainha, Torres Vedras, Mafra, Vila Franca de Xira, Loures, Amadora, Sintra, Cascais and Lisbon will receive these symbols with much emotion and hope.
In a letter sent to everyone, Archbishop Manuel Clemente, Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon, highlighted this pilgrimage as an “opportunity for encounter between cultures and generations” and also “an encounter with the Risen One, an encounter with the new life of faith.
In this moment of great joy and enthusiasm, this pilgrimage of the symbols will also be, in the words of the Cardinal-Patriarch of Lisbon, a great opportunity for “preparation for WYD Lisbon 2023”. “A preparation for the encounter with the Holy Father and with the youth of the whole world. To prepare to welcome, and to welcome well, in the manner of Jesus,” he concludes.
D. Manuel Clemente concludes his message by thanking the “tireless work” of both the Parish and Vicariate Committees, stressing that the parish teams currently number “10,000 people”.
As for the host families, there are currently 6,000 families registered in the entire diocese. In order to thank everyone for their availability and to receive the symbols in a festive atmosphere, a Mass will be held in the Monastery of Alcobaça on 1 July at 10:00 am, during which the Welcoming Families present will be blessed.