Read Bishop Mark Edwards’ message below:
Pope Francis has invited the young people of the world to meet him in Lisbon
in early August, 2023. “I want young people, many young people, from our
Diocese to come with me to meet the Pope in Lisbon in August next year.”
Pope Francis announced that Lisbon would host the global Catholic gathering
of young people at the closing Mass of the last international World Youth Day
in Panama City in January 2019. Lisbon, a city of 505,000 people is around 75
miles from Fatima, which we will visit as part of our pilgrimage itinerary.
We will travel to Lisbon via the Holy Land as a group, as a supportive, friendly
community journeying both in a geographical sense and in a spiritual sense.
Our hope is that the Gospels will come alive when we are in locations where
Jesus taught, healed, lived, died and rose. May it be a preparation for WYD
and a place of encounters with Jesus.
WYD is a week-long gathering and was established by Pope Saint John Paul II in
1985 and gathers millions of young people and their bishops from all across
the world with the Pope. It is at the same time a pilgrimage, a celebration of
youth, an expression of the universal church and an intense moment of
evangelisation for our world. Everyone is invited, no matter how distant from
or close to the Church they are.
The theme of this WYD is "Mary arose and went with haste.” (Luke 1: 39) Let
us arise with haste and go to encounter our fellow young people, the Pope and
“Arise!”, Pope Francis reminds us is also an invitation to “dream”, to “take a
risk”, to be “committed to changing the world, to rekindle your hopes and
aspirations, and to contemplate the heavens, the stars and the world around
you.” He invites us to “give our passions and dreams free rein, “and, through
them, offer the world, the Church and other young people something
beautiful, whether in the realm of the spirit, the arts or society… Make your
On previous WYDs, I have seen people grow deeply in all dimensions including
friendship, humanity and faith. With Pope Francis, I want this WYD also to be a
powerfully positive event and encounter for as many young people as
To the young, I offer the invitation: Come and experience the power, joy and
encounters of WYD.
To those who are no longer young: Please invite young people you know and
facilitate this opportunity for them.
To all: Please pray for the Lord’s Spirit to work deeply and authoritatively in the
lives of young people in our diocese and in the World.
“Young woman and man, I say to you, arise!”