World Youth Day Lisbon 2023: the structure of the path

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A World Youth Day (WYD) is not built overnight. On January 29, representatives of all the Diocesan Organizing Committees (COD) and the various boards of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) gathered at the Major Seminary of Évora for another working session. The preparation of WYD requires time, and time is a scarce and compulsive commodity: the less time we have, the more it consumes us and the more important it becomes.

Portugal set out on this path in 2019 and from then until now, the structure of WYD Lisbon 2023 has been taking shape, including, strengthening, testing and testing our ability to plan, prepare, anticipate, and build. It is not a great undertaking, but rather a great event, one of those that Portugal is always up to, one that is already worthwhile.

The structure is national, the Day is of the world. The organization is of a country, the effort is of all the dioceses. The encounter is with Christ, the experience is of young people from all over the world. The Pope will come to meet us, Jesus counts on us for life. Everything moves, everything vibrates, and every day new ideas emerge, new ways of doing the same things that others have already done, always seeking innovation, inclusion, foresight, preparation.

This work does not end and the structure becomes aware of this at each meeting. The Local Organising Committee and the Diocesan Organising Committees intensify their commitment and multiply their work. The communities are open to the days ahead. Parishes are creative and available. Movements idealise, undertake, articulate, strengthen encounters in this meeting. Families dream of welcoming, young people build solutions of availability. Every day the machine continues to work and somewhere in our hearts the maturing and discernment of this meeting is taking shape.

We are on the way, we are together, even when the journey seems difficult and difficult, but, so be it, youth is a force that moves the world, young people move structures, structures affirm and build ideas, the country has got up and set off in haste, resolute, ready, attentive and with its sleeves rolled up. The structure of the journey is a journey that has no end, it has meeting points that dignify the journey, and it accumulates people and encounters the living Christ.

The structure of the journey has to be a certainty that the steps will always be prayed for. There is no World Youth Day, either in Lisbon or anywhere else in the world, that does not have to be prayed for. It is easy to gather people, it is possible to provide the conditions for it, but to provide an encounter between them and Jesus is a gift of God that can only be achieved in prayer, in the smallness of our hearts and the humility of our hands.

The structure makes the journey, but this journey must be a prayerful one, made up of laborious silences and noisy moments of joy, sharing and faith. World Youth Day is a structure of peace, and for this reason it is already a success among us, a haven for a whole world that wants to meet in God?

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