It was today, around 10am, that Pope Francis landed in Lisbon, at the Figo Maduro air base. The Holy Father will participate in World Youth Day Lisbon 2023 from 3 to 6 August.
Upon arrival in Lisbon, the Pope was warmly welcomed by the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, and by an entourage composed of senior figures of State and the Catholic Church.
After the reception, he left for Belém accompanied by a police escort, greeting all those who accompanied his arrival in the city where WYD Lisbon 2023 is being held. Upon arriving at the Palace of Belém, he was received with military honours and shots fired by a frigate in the Tagus River.
Once inside the palace, he had a moment alone with Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, and then signed the book of honour, where he left the following message: “Pilgrim of hope in Portugal, I pray and hope that this country with a young heart will continue to reach out towards horizons of fraternity; Lisbon, city of encounter, will inspire ways of facing together the great issues of Europe and the world.”
Pope Francis then left, together with the President of the Republic, for the Belém Cultural Centre, where he gave his first official speech of this visit to Portugal. He said he was very happy to be in Lisbon, in what he defines as “the capital of the world and of the future”, as host city of WYD Lisbon 2023. He also thanked “the great work and generous commitment” of the whole country to host this meeting.
Starting tomorrow, Pope Francis will be present at the central events of WYD, with his presence at the Welcoming Ceremony. He will then preside over the Way of the Cross on 4 August, and will also be present at the Vigil on 5 August and the Sending Mass on 6 August. On the same day, before leaving for Rome, he will meet with all the volunteers of this World Youth Day in Algés to thank them for their commitment.