The group of 130 young people from the Salesians of Estoril who have registered for World Youth Day Lisbon 2023 have already set out on their journey with their first preparation meeting.
On January 27, this meeting was the first of six that will be held monthly until the World Youth Day Lisbon 2023, which will take place in August.
At 7pm the school of the Salesianos do Estoril welcomed the young people, mostly students from the institution itself, but also including external participants who are preparing for this great meeting with the Pope.
The meeting began with various ice-breaker games, since the group is made up of students from different school cycles and classes, aged between 14 and 18 years and who, for the most part, do not know each other yet. Then the monthly theme was presented: the history of World Youth Days and this year’s theme.
The participants were then distributed into groups, where they took time to share and reflect with each other.
The first part of the meeting ended with a shared dinner in the Salesian school’s Pastoral. The young people came together again after dinner for Rezar+, a time when, in front of the exposed Blessed Sacrament, they prayed about the love that God has for each one and gave thanks for the life and vocation of St. John Bosco. There was also time for confession.
On 31 January, the feast of St. John Bosco, Father and Teacher of Youth, another activity took place as part of World Youth Day. On this special day, the Salesians of Estoril hosted TEDx, entitled “I Went. The stories of WYD by those who lived it”, in which five speakers shared their experience.
João Serra shared his experience in Sydney, in 2008; Rodrigo Figueiredo was in Panama, in 2019; Margarida Castro participated in the great youth festival in Madrid, in 2011; Madalena Borges had the grace of being in Rio de Janeiro, in 2013; finally, the youth could listen to the sharing made by Father Bernardo Trocado, who was in Krakow, in 2016.
The students were able to hear testimonies of these young people who participated both as international volunteers, as regular pilgrims, as well as priests, and also the experience of the young actress who participated in the WYD youth festival. For all of them the participation in World Youth Day was a turning point in their faith journey.
Preparatory meetings continued in February
On 23rd February, the second meeting for the preparation of World Youth Day Lisbon 2023 took place at the Salesianos do Estoril.
More than 70 young people were present, including students, teachers and scouts, who were able to share moments of celebration, joy, conviviality and much interiority. As part of the Lenten journey, everyone was challenged to reflect on the theme of the “Beatitudes” in the concrete aspects of their lives. Also recalled was the World Youth Day in Krakow in 2016, which had as its theme “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy”.
The meeting ended with a moment of prayer: “Pray+”.