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World Youth Day 2023 in Lisbon: All you need to know

Para ler este artigo em português, clique aqui.


World Youth Day 2023 (WYD 2023) is taking place in Portugal. But what does the event represent? It is a meeting between the Pope and young people from all around the globe.

Since 1986, there have been 15 World Youth Days in various parts of the world, including Denver (USA), Manila (Philippines), Sydney (Australia), Toronto (Canada), Rome (Italy) and Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). The meeting takes place every 2, 3 or 4 years, in a city announced by the Pope at the previous Youth Day. It is the largest worldwide event organised by the Catholic Church.

Where and when will World Youth Day 2023 take place?

In Lisbon, from 31 July to 6 August. Countless pilgrims are expected to arrive in the days leading up to it. They will take part in various events, either planned by the host parishes, organised by religious orders, or even structured by the Youth Day organisation itself.

The young pilgrims will be welcomed by the dioceses of Lisbon, Santarém and Setúbal.

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In Lisbon, the events will take place at various locations:

  • Parque Tejo: This is the main site for World Youth Day 2023. It comprises around 100 hectares along the riverside, next to Parque das Nações. During the event, it will be named ‘Campo da Graça’ or Field of Grace;
  • Parque Eduardo VII: This will be the stage for some religious moments. During the event, the site will be known as ‘Colina do Encontro’ or Meeting Hill;
  • Passeio Marítimo de Algés: This is where Pope Francis will meet WYD 2023 volunteers;
  • Jardim de Vasco da Gama: This is the designated space for the ‘Cidade de Alegria’ or City of Joy event (see more about this event below);
  • Terreiro do Paço, Parque da Belavista, Alameda D. Afonso Henriques: Locations of artistic, cultural and sporting events that form part of the Festival of Youth (see more about this event below).

What is the programme for World Youth Day 2023?

A range of events has been planned to mark this meeting. The most highly anticipated and important include the following:

  • Main Events. These correspond to moments of religious celebration and times when Pope Francis will be present: Opening mass (1st of August, Parque Eduardo VII), with Cardinal Manuel Clemente presiding; Welcoming of Pope Francis (3rd of August, Parque Eduardo VII). On this day, the Pope will meet the young pilgrims for the first time; Via-Sacra (4th of August, Parque Eduardo VII) usually with the Pope presiding; Night of Vigil (5th of August), when the young people undertake a pilgrimage to Parque Tejo; and lastly, the Final Mass (6th of August, Parque Tejo), celebrated by the Pope.
  • Rise Up Encounters. These take place on the mornings of 2nd, 3rd and 4th of August, in various locations in Lisbon. They represent a new model of catechism for WYD 2023 and aim to encourage young pilgrims to reflect on the key themes to which Pope Francis has devoted special attention: Integral Ecology, Social Friendship and Compassion.
  • Festival of Youth. From the 1st to 6th of August, in various locations in the city, both outdoors and indoors (auditoriums, cinemas, theatres, churches and exhibition spaces). The festival presents cultural programmes (concerts, dance, theatre, cinema, exhibitions and sporting events) prepared by the pilgrims. Entry is free for those registered for World Youth Day 2023. These events do not clash with the Rise Up Encounters or the Main Events.
  • City of Joy. This is the space linking the ‘Feira do Perdão’ (Forgiveness Fair) and ‘Parque Vocacional’ (Vocation Park) and will be open from the 1st to 4th of August, in Jardins Vasco da Gama. The first aims to allow the young pilgrims to get to know diverse religious movements, orders, associations and communities and social projects. The second will highlight Confession (Sacrament of Reconciliation).

How do you register for World Youth Day 2023?

This mega-event is open to pilgrims from all around the world, aged between 14 and 30, although the participation of other age groups is allowed.

You can sign up using this online platform, clicking on the ‘register your group’ button, even if just for one person. To facilitate better understanding, World Youth Day has five official languages – Portuguese, English, Spanish, French and Italian – and the registration form allows you to pick one of these languages.

Registration is free, but for logistical and safety reasons and to support the costs of this event, everyone is invited to pay a voluntary contribution, choosing one of three pilgrim packages, with different advantages and benefits.

The meeting takes place every 2, 3 or 4 years, in a city announced by the Pope at the previous Youth Day. It is the largest worldwide event organised by the Catholic Church.

Please note! Pilgrims under the age of 18 must be registered as part of a group, with one adult in that group responsible for them. In addition, the number of minors in the group must be stated on the registration form and a completed declaration of parental authorisation must be uploaded, in PDF format, dated and signed by the parents or legal guardian of the minor(s).

Registration gives access to all World Youth Day events, as well as the following additional perks: free use of public transport during the period of the event, a pilgrim kit and personal accident insurance.

Consider increasing your protection with Tranquilidade Health Insurance. With this cover, if you have any health issues, you can turn to a vast network of private healthcare providers. Just check the AdvanceCare Saúde website and choose the nearest provider to you. You will have access to quality care and spend less time waiting to be attended.

What should you do if you have a problem outside the site?

During World Youth Day 2023, there will be information and support points scattered around the city and at the venues of events outside the main site.

There will also be a Pilgrim Welcome Centre (at Universidade Católica, operational from the 15th of July). There, you can resolve any complex issues that require a more personalised response. This is also where pilgrims will receive their welcome.

In addition to this, key volunteers, priests and all pilgrims without accommodation can check-in, pick up their pilgrim or volunteer kit and have their accreditation processed. This is the first thing to do before taking part in WYD Lisbon 2023.

If necessary, representatives of the PSP (Public Security Police) will be available to provide assistance. And more than 10 thousand police officers will be involved in the security and policing of World Youth Day 2023.

Here are some useful contacts:

  • AdvanceCare Saúde Helpline (Tel: 210 127 228)
  • Medical emergency (Tel: 112)
  • PSP (Tel: 218 111 000)
  • WYD Lisbon 2023 Foundation (Tel: 308 814 252)

Host dioceses:

1. Patriarchate of Lisbon
2. Diocese of Santarém
3. Diocese of Setúbal



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