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A flying start to World Youth Day in Portugal

A 57-strong Diocese of East Anglia group of mostly young pilgrims are in Portugal for World Youth Day. Sr Catherine Williams and Isabel Cuenca report on a flying start to day one.

World Youth Day – Day One, July 26

Sr Catherine Williams writes:

After a busy day of travelling (in which, thankfully, no one became irretrievably lost) our group of 57 arrived safely at Viana do Castelo. We were accompanied by the prayers of Bishop Peter who started us out on our journey with a 10am Sending Mass at Our Lady Immaculate and St Etheldreda in Newmarket.

His words on how, “it is the duty of the young to show enthusiasm, to be filled with vigour, physically and spiritually,” were particularly apt when we stumbled out of our second coach of the day at our accommodation at 7pm after over eight hours of travelling, but still with smiles on our faces. 

In his homily Bishop Peter also told us that: “A pilgrim does not walk alone but always in communion with the church. You have a duty to care for each other, to encourage, to protect, to pray with and for one another”, encouraging us to support one another other the coming days. 

Bishop Peter also reminded us that by gathering around Pope Francis which forms the focus of this pilgrimage where we stand as a united, universal Church held together in faith, hope and charity.  We look forward to beginning our ‘Days in the Diocese’ programme and all that awaits us in the coming days.

Isabel Cuenca reports:

Today we set off on our World Youth Day journey from Newmarket after an inspiring mass delivered by Bishop Peter. Upon arriving at the airport we found our groups and took the waiting time to get to know each other better.

Once boarded, the flight was a smooth one and we arrived in sunny Porto in the early evening then Viana do Castelo before nightfall to take in a great harbour view by the water! After some time spent exploring the hostel and its grounds we all shared a meal (with a special treat) then received a blessing to end our day from Fr Luke Goymour. 

You can follow the group’s progress on social media at and

See below for the latest picture gallery:

World Youth Day 2023 in Portugal - East Anglia pilgrims

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