Today our day started with morning prayer lead by Fr Luke Goymour, before we all boarded a coach to Ponte de Lima, the oldest large town in Portugal to join with 5,000 other World Youth Day pilgrims from across the Viana de Castelo diocese which is hosting us.
We first took a look in some churches in which we learned about the Blessed Francisco Pacheco who was born in Porte de Lima and martyred in 1626 with 10 people in Nagasaki. Our host, Fr Pablo de Lima, said that for just preaching the word of God Francisco was imprisoned in Japan and then executed.
Following on from this we gathered with pilgrims, priests and the local bishop in a large exhibition hall to celebrate Mass. There were pilgrims from France, Spain, Croatia, Venezuela and Argentina just to name a few – we knew this by talking to them and by seeing their large flags waving above the congregation. There was a real energy in the hall from the start and it was incredible to know that this is just a fraction of what is to come in Lisbon, which excited the East Anglian pilgrims.
The group were then able to explore this beautiful place in which there was a music festival, market places and incredible scenery to embark on. For those who enjoyed it, there was then what can only be described as a rave in the exhibition hall with lasers, stage lights, dry ice and a local Catholic priest playing loud, thumping techno music.
The East Anglia crew then jumped back on the coach to head back to Viana for our evening meal and finished off the day with a much smaller party celebration socialising with many other nationalities. A perfect end to an amazing day.
Pictured above is the large Mass in Ponte de Lima, also pictured in the video and pictures below..
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