Yesterday, the Passeio Marítimo de Algés hosted the meeting of Volunteers with Pope Francis. On a hot afternoon, more than 20,000 volunteers did not want to give up the opportunity to be closer to Pope Francis one last time.
The meeting of volunteers who worked before, during and after WYD usually closes this great event. And so it was also in Portugal. More than 20,000 volunteers travelled to the Passeio Marítimo de Algés yesterday to hear Pope Francis’ message once again.
The event began with a video about the WYD week, followed by the testimony of three volunteers and the gratitude of the Cardinal-Patriarch of Lisbon, Mgr Manuel Clemente, for the words and gestures shared throughout the week with the young people.
In his speech, Pope Francis compared the wave of young people in Lisbon for World Youth Day (WYD) to the giant waves in Nazaré, asking them to be “surfers of love”.
“As many of you know, and I have also learned, there is a town north of Lisbon – Nazaré – where you can admire waves that reach 30 metres high, making it a worldwide attraction, especially for the surfers who ride them,” Pope Francis said.
Addressing the volunteers, the Holy Father recognised that they faced “an enormous wave, not of water, but of young people who flocked” to Lisbon. “With God’s help, with so much generosity and by supporting each other, you were able to ride this great wave. It has carried you even higher,” he concluded.
Francis also asked the volunteers to continue “riding the waves of charity” and to be “surfers of love”.
It was in an atmosphere of emotion and celebration that Pope Francis ended his five-day trip to Portugal as part of World Youth Day.