Hundreds of thousands attend Opening Mass in Lisbon

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Hundreds of thousands attend Opening Mass in Lisbon

Young Diocese of East Anglia pilgrims in Portugal for World Youth Day spent their first full day in Lisbon and attended the Opening Mass with hundreds of thousands of others. Matt Shanahan reports.

World Youth Day – Day Seven, August 1

Today started with a lovely continental breakfast and a lie-in after a long day travelling and visiting Fatima.

We met in a big group and received our accreditation for the World Youth Day event, and then went for a reconciliation session in the chapel with the Franciscan Sister of Maria (Capela de San Antonio – Franciscanas missnárias de Maria). It was lovely and very peaceful. Bishop Peter Collins joined us for this. My favourite hymn was sung – Reckless Love. I love the way it is showing that we always have a way even if we can be reckless we still can love in Jesus. 

Lunch slowly arrived. After that we went and made a choice on whether we went to listen a theology of the body talk, however this was full and some of us went to the City of Joy which is where many of the events taking place and it was very busy!

Taize pray took place in São Domingos. It is “evening prayer for all Christians, it is simple, meditative form of worship, calling us to dwell deeply on Christ’s”.

After that the majority of the group headed for the opening Mass in the ‘Parque Eduardo VII’ where the Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon, D Manuel Clemente celebrated Mass in Portuguese.

He welcomed an estimated quarter of a million pilgrims saying: “Dear friends who have come here from around the whole world for World Youth Day Lisbon 2023 Welcome all! I desire for you all to feel “at home,” in this common home where we will live World Youth Day. Welcome!

“The Mass we are celebrating, in anticipation of the arrival of our dear Pope Francis, is that of the Visitation of Our Lady – the general motto of the World Youth Day: Mary arose and went with haste to encounter Elizabeth. It is a Gospel passage that includes us as well.

“The path you travelled to get here was worth the effort, and during this time you will find, in the variety of who you are and in the quality that you bring, each and every one, from each land, language, and culture. Nothing can substitute this personal path and path together, to encounter the path of all.”

The Mass today showed us the overall scale of how big world youth day is. It took at least 1 hour and 45 minutes to do a distance that would only take us 35-40 minutes on a normal day.

Pope Francis is expected to arrive for the festivities on Wednesday.

You can watch the Opening Mass on EWTN

Pictured above is the Welcome Mass for World Youth Day in Lisbon.

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

See below for the latest picture gallery:

East Anglia at World Youth Day in Portugal: part 2 Lisbon


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