On Tuesday 1st August, the Patriarch of Lisbon, H.E. Card. Manuel Clemente, celebrated the Holy Opening Mass of the XXXVII World Youth Day, which takes place in Lisbon, Portugal, until 6th August. Thousands of young people from all over the world took part, gathered at Parco Edoardo VII; as part of the Integral Ecology program, 40 Friars Minor from many parts of the world have taken care of the Park and the gardens it contains.
The Patriarch addressed his greeting to the young people: “Dear friends who have come here from all over the world for World Youth Day Lisbon 2023, welcome everyone! Welcome also to the ecumenical, interreligious and benevolent breath that these days have and unite. I want you all to feel "at home", in this common home where we will live this WYD".
Card. Clement, in his homily, focused on the theme of WYD: Mary got up and went with haste (Lk 1, 39). “The Mass we are celebrating is that of the Visitation of Our Lady to Elizabeth [...] Mary has left. She was young like all of you, and had just conceived Jesus in a unique way that the Gospel tells. You too have left. [...] From near or far, you've all started. It is very important to leave. So we should face our own life, as a journey to travel, making every day a new segment".
The Patriarch underlined the difficulties that today prevent young people from "leaving", in particular the "virtual appearance", which replaces concrete reality, which "keeps the young people seated" in front of a screen. Instead all Christians, like Mary, carry Jesus in their womb, because they receive him "in the Word, in the sacraments and in charity, where he offers himself. Because we believe in Jesus as the way to God, we walk with him to bring him to others. With the same impetus that Mary carried, in the same Spirit that guides us, we set off!” said Card. Clemente.
He then went on to highlight the difference between "haste or hurry” and "anxiety": "It is no coincidence that the text speaks of Mary's haste, just as other evangelical passages speak of the urgency of proclaiming, bearing witness, and the constant visitation of others as we must. Dear young people, you know well that when the heart is full, it soon overflows. There is truly "like haste in the air", an air in which the Divine Spirit himself circulates, with the readiness that only God has and communicates. [...] So you will be, in such a hurry, without anxiety, like one who shares what he has. What brought you here and what you will take with you is made greater by the grace of these days!”
Finally, the Patriarch spoke of Mary's greeting to Elizabeth: “Each of our meetings must begin with a sincere greeting, in which we exchange words of sincere welcome and full sharing. [...] We learn from Mary to greet each person, in the sincerity of the greeting we exchange, to be people among people, in a reciprocal and constant visit!
On Tuesday 31 July, Br Massimo Fusarelli, OFM, Minister General participated in the international meeting of YouFra and the Laudato Si' Movement in Lisbon. In his speech, Br. Massimo spoke of the eighth centenary of Christmas in Greccio and how this anniversary should make us understand the place that Jesus occupies in our hearts: “In Greccio it is always Christmas. It is also in Lisbon this year, to the extent that you will be able to feel yourself sent on this mission: to make everyone aware of such a great and unique love that changes and makes our lives beautiful. Happy Youth Day with Saint Francis!”
On August 2, the Laudato Si' evening will be held at the City of Joy, in which the JPIC Office of the General Curia will also participate (read the interview with the Director Br Daniel Blanco, OFM) and the Vicar General, Br Ignacio Ceja Jimenez, OFM.